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From the best selling author of the smash hit comedy Love... From Both Sides. *** A great book will transport you to another world... literally, if you're not careful. On a gloomy Thursday afternoon, Max Bloom enters his local library in a last ditch attempt to stave off an epic case of teenage boredom. Among the hushed stacks he discovers The Cornerstone, a strange book tuck From the best selling author of the smash hit comedy Love... From Both Sides. *** A great book will transport you to another world... literally, if you're not careful. On a gloomy Thursday afternoon, Max Bloom enters his local library in a last ditch attempt to stave off an epic case of teenage boredom. Among the hushed stacks he discovers The Cornerstone, a strange book tucked away on a dusty, forgotten shelf. Opening the cover, Max is instantly transported to an alternate dimension full of things intent on killing him – thus avoiding boredom with remarkable success. He meets a beautiful girl called Merelie, who believes Max is the only one that can save both worlds from the hideous Dwellers - terrifying monsters from beyond the universe. She thinks he might be a Wordsmith, a sorcerer able to craft magic from the written word itself – one strong enough to defeat the Dwellers and their treacherous human allies. This all sounds completely unbelievable, of course. The kind of thing you'd read in a fantasy novel. But The Cornerstone doesn't lie… and the danger is very real. In a world threatened by monsters, where books are worshipped and magic exists, Max Bloom must make a choice: close The Cornerstone and run home - or trust Merelie, become a Wordsmith, and save two worlds from certain destruction...


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From the best selling author of the smash hit comedy Love... From Both Sides. *** A great book will transport you to another world... literally, if you're not careful. On a gloomy Thursday afternoon, Max Bloom enters his local library in a last ditch attempt to stave off an epic case of teenage boredom. Among the hushed stacks he discovers The Cornerstone, a strange book tuck From the best selling author of the smash hit comedy Love... From Both Sides. *** A great book will transport you to another world... literally, if you're not careful. On a gloomy Thursday afternoon, Max Bloom enters his local library in a last ditch attempt to stave off an epic case of teenage boredom. Among the hushed stacks he discovers The Cornerstone, a strange book tucked away on a dusty, forgotten shelf. Opening the cover, Max is instantly transported to an alternate dimension full of things intent on killing him – thus avoiding boredom with remarkable success. He meets a beautiful girl called Merelie, who believes Max is the only one that can save both worlds from the hideous Dwellers - terrifying monsters from beyond the universe. She thinks he might be a Wordsmith, a sorcerer able to craft magic from the written word itself – one strong enough to defeat the Dwellers and their treacherous human allies. This all sounds completely unbelievable, of course. The kind of thing you'd read in a fantasy novel. But The Cornerstone doesn't lie… and the danger is very real. In a world threatened by monsters, where books are worshipped and magic exists, Max Bloom must make a choice: close The Cornerstone and run home - or trust Merelie, become a Wordsmith, and save two worlds from certain destruction...

30 review for Max Bloom In... The Cornerstone

  1. 4 out of 5

    Martin Cooper

    Books are weird, have you noticed? That's what makes booksellers a bit odd. Fortunately Max has only read three in his entire life, not counting the Haynes Austin Montego Workshop Manual. Then the bored teenage hero of Nick Spalding's engaging fantasy takes shelter from the rain in his local library, where he discovers that some books are doorways into other worlds. No, this is not a metaphor. I would put money on Spalding being a Terry Pratchett fan. He scoops up several key ideas from Discworld Books are weird, have you noticed? That's what makes booksellers a bit odd. Fortunately Max has only read three in his entire life, not counting the Haynes Austin Montego Workshop Manual. Then the bored teenage hero of Nick Spalding's engaging fantasy takes shelter from the rain in his local library, where he discovers that some books are doorways into other worlds. No, this is not a metaphor. I would put money on Spalding being a Terry Pratchett fan. He scoops up several key ideas from Discworld metaphysics - the multiverse, the trouser legs of time, the essential strangeness of libraries - and puts them to good use. But he successfully avoids any suggestion that he is copying the Master. Spalding's Chapter Lands are a long way from Ankh-Morpork. There are no dwarves or trolls, and while there is a slight air of mediaevalism about them, the furniture comes from Ikea. The Cornerstone has more in common with Pratchett's series for younger readers (Johnny and the Bomb, Johnny and the Dead, Only You can Save the World). Spalding is interested in the same surreal collision of fantasy with the down-to-earth demands of life in a modern provincial town. What is likely to happen when the showdown between the leather-clad, demon-possessed warrior and the librarian-guardian of Earth takes place in your mum's back garden? The answer involves rotary clothes lines. A thoroughly enjoyable book. Not long - I read it at a sitting, but that speaks for itself. Quibbles? Very few, and all trivial. I did think that the age given for Max (17) was about three years too old, both for the character and for the readers who are likely to enjoy this book most. Do 17-year-olds blush when they kiss the damsel in distress? Not any more, I suspect. As far as I remember, Pratchett wisely avoids mentioning exactly how old Johnny is - along with Max he occupies a no-man's-land: old enough for insight, young enough to be bossed around. If Spalding writes a sequel - as I hope he will - he might be a little more severe in cutting the colloquialism of the narrative style. The opening sentence is a good example: It was, for all intents and purposes, the perfect day to visit the library. You can see the tone he is aiming at, but for all intents and purposes is a bit of flannel which adds nothing. This sort of thing can easily become an irritating habit. And please, please do something about the greengrocer's apostrophe's.

  2. 5 out of 5

    DoodlePanda

    I found this a good read, with a good story and some funny moments. Plus I got this for free on the Kindle, so all in all 4 stars from me. I have already bought the next book in the series :)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Loraine

    I downloaded this for free on my kindle and wasn't sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. I found myself being pulled in to the plot and enjoyed the witty banter throughout. This is a young adult novel and the main character is a teenage lad. The writer has captured the essence of a british teen rather well. I loved the fact that this was a british story and could relate very well to it. The plot was a very good idea and i am looking forward to the prospect of a sequel. There was an au I downloaded this for free on my kindle and wasn't sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. I found myself being pulled in to the plot and enjoyed the witty banter throughout. This is a young adult novel and the main character is a teenage lad. The writer has captured the essence of a british teen rather well. I loved the fact that this was a british story and could relate very well to it. The plot was a very good idea and i am looking forward to the prospect of a sequel. There was an authors note at the end explaining how he came up with the idea in the first place. I thought that this was a nice personal touch.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Frida Fantastic (book blogger)

    The Cornerstone is a contemporary fantasy set in suburban Britain. Max is an ordinary Xbox-playing 17-year-old boy, but when he finds a magical book, it transports him to an alternate world threatened by monsters. A beautiful girl is convinced that Max is the fated sorcerer that will save her world, but that’s not likely as her world’s magic comes from books… and Max doesn’t read any. The story follows Max as he discovers books, magic, and if he has what it takes to be a hero. This novel kicked o The Cornerstone is a contemporary fantasy set in suburban Britain. Max is an ordinary Xbox-playing 17-year-old boy, but when he finds a magical book, it transports him to an alternate world threatened by monsters. A beautiful girl is convinced that Max is the fated sorcerer that will save her world, but that’s not likely as her world’s magic comes from books… and Max doesn’t read any. The story follows Max as he discovers books, magic, and if he has what it takes to be a hero. This novel kicked off to a great start. The lively prose pulled me in quickly, the flippant tone was refreshing, and the humour had personality. I expected to read a lighthearted fantasy adventure that was genre-savvy and would play with some of fantasy’s most common tropes. It turns out to be a story that’s promising in concept, but not quite there in execution. “Show, don’t tell” is a classic adage for good reason. The Cornerstone lost my interest because it frequently read like a series of summaries rather than a story that was actively unfolding. The first half of the book slowly sets up the conflict, but after that, it decides to skim over the most important developments. As major events are told rather than shown, it removes the dramatic tension that should have taken place, and I did not feel emotionally involved in the rest of the book. The concept of an alternate world where words have power, wordsmiths are magicians, and God is called the Writer is intriguing. I was eager to see what magic system would be developed, but it doesn’t have any rules beyond “draw power from books, shoot lighting beam”. Not all fantasy books need to get detailed about magic, but if it deals with a lot of magicians and the protagonist has to learn new powers, developing a magic system with rules and limitations is an integral part of world-building. Magic can’t be an unstoppable force or else magicians would be too powerful to care about; in this story, the sources of power (books) aren’t scarce enough to create that sense of vulnerability. I liked the idea of an uncooperative teenage boy as a hero, and several characters brim with personality. I found Max, the grandpa, and the librarian particularly charming. The Cornerstone’s strengths are its characterization, wit, and entertaining commentary. Unfortunately, the humour didn’t work for me in the framework of a fantasy adventure. The pacing is too brisk when there should’ve been more world-building, and it drags in uneventful scenes because much of the prose is dedicated to humourous aside commentary. It tries to go for an anachronistic style of humour similar to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’m a fan of humourous SF/F like Douglas Adam’s The Hitchiker’s Guide series and Terry Prachett’s Discworld, but this book often misses the punch line: [Just how many Wordsmiths and Dwellers could be taken defeat before being overwhelmed and taken prisoner? It turns out the answer was 42.] The humour is supposed to come from The Hitchiker’s reference, but the original 42 joke is about the absurdity of the universe and the futility of grand questions. If 42 could meaningfully quantify something, it defeats the point of the joke. Great satiric SF/F books play with genre tropes while adding new ideas to the mix. Max belittles the overused fantasy tropes that he encounters, yet The Cornerstone doesn’t act on its genre-awareness. It follows the “boy becomes a wizard to save the world” connect-the-dots with a plodding predictability. Perhaps the story’s inability to breathe new life into old tropes deserves the protagonist’s condescension, but neither endeared itself to this fantasy reader. There’s nothing wrong with the classic “boy becomes the chosen one” plot if there are other engaging elements, like with the great world-building found in The Tales of Alvin Maker and the Harry Potter series. The relationship between the parallel worlds is original, but most of the fantasy elements feel like placeholders (insert monster here, insert secondary fantasy world here) rather than a world to get to know. Again, this problem is rooted in the book’s tendency to summarize rather than show. I’ve been looking at other reviews and it seems like this review is the most critical. I think it’s because I was looking for a solid fantasy book first and a humourous read second. I felt disappointed with how it handled fantasy tropes and I don’t think it contributes much to the genre. The Cornerstone is a worthwhile read if the humour hits you in all the right places. But if you’re looking for a satisfying fantasy read, I suggest you look elsewhere. Note: Cross-posted from Frida Fantastic. A free review copy was provided by the author.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Suz Korb

    Absolutely amazing story packed with adventure, humour and teen romance. So cute!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Troy Neenan

    This is an update to a review that I did earlier. I thought about going into more detail. This is actually the first book that I ever bought from kindle. I bought it as a bit of the test just to see if the sight was legit and that the program didn't crash my computer. I am really into goes to another world books and this one was at the top of the lists. Plot: Max Bloom is a teenager who goes to a library and learns that his world is linked to otherworlds and that the amount of books that a world ha This is an update to a review that I did earlier. I thought about going into more detail. This is actually the first book that I ever bought from kindle. I bought it as a bit of the test just to see if the sight was legit and that the program didn't crash my computer. I am really into goes to another world books and this one was at the top of the lists. Plot: Max Bloom is a teenager who goes to a library and learns that his world is linked to otherworlds and that the amount of books that a world has gives the people super powers. Enter bad guy who wants to take over the multiverse, a female sidekick and love interest, and an elderly mentor. Also psychic battles. It feels a lot like A Kid in King Arthur's court mixed in with some real effort. Characters: Max Bloom. The author at least attempts to make the MC act like a genuine teenager. He does ask questions, including the local power dynamics and that everyone should be able to read. What I like: Hmmm. I guess that it does give a good lesson that knowledge is power and that there are always going to be people who suppress it for their own goals. What I don't like: Using a quote from my previous review, Wordcrafting should not be telekinesis. it should be able to summon the creatures and objects you have read. Libromancer style. (Yes, I know that the book came out earlier.) I also feel that calling it bestselling fantasy adventure in the title is tacky, including continuously reminding people that this sold a lot of units. Overall I found this book extremely well written and recommend it to those who like travel to another reality and a smart mouth main character.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    a different book to the ones he usually writes. clever writer A great book will transport you to another world... literally, if you're not careful. On a gloomy Thursday afternoon, Max Bloom enters his local library in a last ditch attempt to stave off an epic case of teenage boredom. Among the hushed stacks he discovers The Cornerstone - an ancient book tucked away on a dusty, forgotten shelf. Opening the cover, Max is transported to an alternate dimension full of things intent on killing him – th a different book to the ones he usually writes. clever writer A great book will transport you to another world... literally, if you're not careful. On a gloomy Thursday afternoon, Max Bloom enters his local library in a last ditch attempt to stave off an epic case of teenage boredom. Among the hushed stacks he discovers The Cornerstone - an ancient book tucked away on a dusty, forgotten shelf. Opening the cover, Max is transported to an alternate dimension full of things intent on killing him – thus avoiding boredom with remarkable success. He meets a beautiful girl called Merelie (brilliant), who tells him he's the only one that can save both their worlds from the Dwellers - hideous mind sucking creatures from beyond the universe (not so brilliant).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andy Rose

    What I enjoyed most about this book, apart from Nick Spaldings' style of writing, is the fresh and highly imaginative idea he's portrayed in the book - the power of words. He does a delightful job of describing the angst of a teenage boy with all it's horrible aspects whilst striking at the chore of the cause, making the hero a recognisable and oddly enough, likeable person. A good storyline, brilliant imagination and engaging writing style! What I enjoyed most about this book, apart from Nick Spaldings' style of writing, is the fresh and highly imaginative idea he's portrayed in the book - the power of words. He does a delightful job of describing the angst of a teenage boy with all it's horrible aspects whilst striking at the chore of the cause, making the hero a recognisable and oddly enough, likeable person. A good storyline, brilliant imagination and engaging writing style!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Contemporary Fantasy: I suspect this is aimed at young adults, but I nevertheless enjoyed it. Hey, it's about books! I seem to be reading a lot of Nick Spalding recently - Amazon seem to be pushing him with cheap deals- However, the good thing is I am generally enjoying him. His writing is, although not great literature, amusing and easy to read and he looks at events with a different eye. This one certainly gets the imagination going. Contemporary Fantasy: I suspect this is aimed at young adults, but I nevertheless enjoyed it. Hey, it's about books! I seem to be reading a lot of Nick Spalding recently - Amazon seem to be pushing him with cheap deals- However, the good thing is I am generally enjoying him. His writing is, although not great literature, amusing and easy to read and he looks at events with a different eye. This one certainly gets the imagination going.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Martina

    So far, I loved all the books written by Nick Spalding I've read. But this time, it was different. In my opinion, this book was neither funny nor very interesting at all. It was really difficult to actually pick it up and continue reading it, and right now I'm just happy I managed to finish it so I can start a new book! So far, I loved all the books written by Nick Spalding I've read. But this time, it was different. In my opinion, this book was neither funny nor very interesting at all. It was really difficult to actually pick it up and continue reading it, and right now I'm just happy I managed to finish it so I can start a new book!

  11. 5 out of 5

    April

    I like the idea that the power of all the words in all the books that exist can be used to make magic. However the lead character is an obnoxious little git who needs a slap, yes he is supposed to be. this makes me wonder whether to read the next one to see if he grows up or not read it incase he doesn't. I like the idea that the power of all the words in all the books that exist can be used to make magic. However the lead character is an obnoxious little git who needs a slap, yes he is supposed to be. this makes me wonder whether to read the next one to see if he grows up or not read it incase he doesn't.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Geoffrey Ferris

    Very good I give this four stars instead of five only because I do not like swearing, ( I know it is a part of everyday life, but I avoid it when I can ) the story is excellent, and I intend to read the follow up.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sue Morris

    Oh dear I do love Nick Spalding's other (comedy) books but I could not get into this at all. Read 25% and gave up (which is very unusual for me to not see a book through to the end). Maybe the fantasy aspect didn't appeal to me. Shame as he is one of my favorite authors. Oh dear I do love Nick Spalding's other (comedy) books but I could not get into this at all. Read 25% and gave up (which is very unusual for me to not see a book through to the end). Maybe the fantasy aspect didn't appeal to me. Shame as he is one of my favorite authors.

  14. 4 out of 5

    C I KESZEI

    Really worth a read if you like Nick Spalding Having read a number of his books, this was completely different. But enjoyable. It took me a while to get gripped as it isn't as funny as his others - although there are plenty of light hearted moments and it really was good. Really worth a read if you like Nick Spalding Having read a number of his books, this was completely different. But enjoyable. It took me a while to get gripped as it isn't as funny as his others - although there are plenty of light hearted moments and it really was good.

  15. 5 out of 5

    R C GEEVES

    Not your typical Spalding . I bought this out of curiosity , and to be honest the start made me query my choice , I guess it's aimed at teens really, but ended up ok. Not your typical Spalding . I bought this out of curiosity , and to be honest the start made me query my choice , I guess it's aimed at teens really, but ended up ok.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pauline Pedley

    More serious than his usual style but still funny and very strange!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    This was entertaining but I was looking for something a little more fast-paced. Great world building and lots of cheeky humor - great for the target audience.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mark Shelvey

    Great mini series Max is funny, few one liners that made me laugh out loud. Fast paced and interesting plot twists.great mini series.hope there is a third!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Gooden

    I usually really enjoy Nick Spalding’s work and I liked the first third of this book, too, but I lost interest at that point. Maybe it was just me, but this book didn’t hit the spot.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Charlie cooke

    I loved this book, we meet max who is your typical teenager - bored, bored and bored. But what he isn't aware of is he's about to be pulled into an adventure that will cure his boredom forever. Slight problem it might also wipe out the entire planet. This was an enjoyable read, light-hearted and engaging. I loved this book, we meet max who is your typical teenager - bored, bored and bored. But what he isn't aware of is he's about to be pulled into an adventure that will cure his boredom forever. Slight problem it might also wipe out the entire planet. This was an enjoyable read, light-hearted and engaging.

  21. 5 out of 5

    TC

    For a bored, x-box loving teenage boy the local library doesn't seem like an obvious choice of venue for an afternoon's entertainment. Yet that is where Max Bloom, a boy with "less purpose than an ambivalent sloth" finds himself one drizzly afternoon. Browsing a book he discovers a curious note which leads him to the Cornerstone - no ordinary book. It certainly makes his afternoon more interesting when it transports him to another universe, one which needs help saving itself (and Earth) from the For a bored, x-box loving teenage boy the local library doesn't seem like an obvious choice of venue for an afternoon's entertainment. Yet that is where Max Bloom, a boy with "less purpose than an ambivalent sloth" finds himself one drizzly afternoon. Browsing a book he discovers a curious note which leads him to the Cornerstone - no ordinary book. It certainly makes his afternoon more interesting when it transports him to another universe, one which needs help saving itself (and Earth) from the Dwellers. Summoned by beautiful 16 year old Merelie Max is torn - delighted to have reason to talk to a gorgeous girl, but baffled by her insistence he must be able to harness the power of all the books on Earth to wordcraft. Yes, she's lovely but these Dwellers are pretty nasty and he's not convinced he can do magic. This book is a comic fantasy novel. There's some cracking observational humour that really rings true, and plenty of laughs throughout. With the main protagonist being a seventeen year old the humour isn't too adult but a lot of the humour comes from observations about seventeen year old boys that older people would probably find funnier than teens themselves. I do like fantasy novels like this one that don't take themselves too seriously, but that doesn't detract from the fact that the author has created a great alternative world and society with means of travel to other places and a form of magic I thought was brilliant. As a keen reader I loved the concept of harnessing the power of words and instead of having a God having a Writer. The action was well-paced and there was plenty going on to keep me interested, although the plot is pretty straightforward. Max is so stereotypical, perpetually bored (until he meets the Cornerstone), mouthy, embarrassed by his mum, but I couldn't help but be on his side. The other characters aren't as strongly drawn but I reacted to them in the way I suspect the author wanted the reader to. I'd love to know more about Merelie and I thought Max's grandad was great. Nick Spalding has two other books available, comic autobiographies but this is his first novel. I have Life With No Breaks on my kindle, yet to read it. If the humour is in the same vein and as polished, well formatted and proofed as this I'll definitely enjoy it. I was pleased to see Nick's teaser about potential future installments of the series, and liked his insight into how the book was conceived.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine Sears

    If I put the label `Young Adult' on this book I'm sure it'll deter one or two readers from picking it up and giving it a worthwhile read, which would be a massive shame. So instead of saying that I'll say this is a thrilling comedy adventure of universal appeal! `Max Bloom in... the Cornerstone: A fast Paced Fantasy Adventure' is a well told tale about teenage boy, skilled in the art of backchat and gaming, who's accidentally mistaken for a magical wordsmith by a pretty young girl from an alterna If I put the label `Young Adult' on this book I'm sure it'll deter one or two readers from picking it up and giving it a worthwhile read, which would be a massive shame. So instead of saying that I'll say this is a thrilling comedy adventure of universal appeal! `Max Bloom in... the Cornerstone: A fast Paced Fantasy Adventure' is a well told tale about teenage boy, skilled in the art of backchat and gaming, who's accidentally mistaken for a magical wordsmith by a pretty young girl from an alternate reality, who's world is under threat of mental annihilation. And I promise you, once this story gets going there's never a dull page! I discovered Nick Spalding when I downloaded and read his biographical book `Life With No Breaks , which I found hysterical and duly devoured it at break-neck speed. So when Amazon recommended a further book by Spalding, I didn't hesitate to download it. However, `Max Bloom in ... The Cornerstone' was a little different, in that it's a work of fiction. I started reading it with absolutely no expectations other than a desire to be entertained. After all, experience has shown Nick Spalding is a very funny guy! The book starts off on a rainy day, in the nothing-special town of Farefield, UK. Admittedly it took me a while to get into the plot because I had no idea where it was going, and until the main event started unfolding I was looking around the corner of every paragraph wondering `is this it?' But I didn't have to wait long, as around the 10% mark (I read the Kindle version) it all kicked off, and along with Max, I was unwitting dragged across the dimensions and into the Chapter Lands, where everything started to become clear. Not wanting to retell the tale or spoil your fun I won't recite what happens, other than say it was action-packed, enormous fun and completely engaging. Max Bloom is one of those great characters who have more than just one story to tell and that makes you want to see him again in another adventure. So it's a good thing really that fans of this book can enjoy the sequel: Wordsmith... The Cornerstone Book 2: A Fast Paced Fantasy Sequel Don't forget to put it on your `Wish List'!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Crazyjamie

    Another book bought on for next to nothing on my Kindle due to little more than sounding interesting, The Cornerstone tells the story of Max Bloom, a somewhat typical 17 year old who through boredom finds himself in the library one afternoon. Once there he comes across a book containing a strange message requesting help. He is then suddenly transported to quite literally a different world, where books are held in incredibly high regard and magic is cast using the power of words within those book Another book bought on for next to nothing on my Kindle due to little more than sounding interesting, The Cornerstone tells the story of Max Bloom, a somewhat typical 17 year old who through boredom finds himself in the library one afternoon. Once there he comes across a book containing a strange message requesting help. He is then suddenly transported to quite literally a different world, where books are held in incredibly high regard and magic is cast using the power of words within those books. The Cornerstone is very much a comedy fantasy, with constant one liners and comic references accompanying the fast moving fantasy plot. It's not at the level of say, the Discworld series in terms of the weight of the comedy, but certainly plays an active role. The Skulduggery Pleasant series would be a better example as to the impact of the comedy. The plot itself is original, interesting and moves along at a pace that keeps the pages turning. It is by no means the most complex story in the world, but I did find that it held my attention very well. The Cornerstone is very much an example of an easy going Young Adult fantasy book, and it is one that I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed. It was never in danger of becoming emotionally involving or developing tension in the same way that the Hunger Games does (to give one example), but what it does do is provide a fantasy story that is interesting, entertaining and enjoyable without ever demanding too much from the reader. So for those who are looking for an easy fantasy read, it is one to recommend.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emma Adams

    This has to be one of the most fun reads I've had in a long time. A novel about a world in which books are revered and words have immense power is definitely a winner in my book(excuse the terrible pun)! This is relentlessly entertaining comic fantasy at its best. The Cornerstone introduces us to a world in which words are the equivalent to magic, and books are consequently a rarity. When evil purple smoke monsters between the universes threaten to put this world to an end, Max Bloom is reluctan This has to be one of the most fun reads I've had in a long time. A novel about a world in which books are revered and words have immense power is definitely a winner in my book(excuse the terrible pun)! This is relentlessly entertaining comic fantasy at its best. The Cornerstone introduces us to a world in which words are the equivalent to magic, and books are consequently a rarity. When evil purple smoke monsters between the universes threaten to put this world to an end, Max Bloom is reluctantly dragged from a library our world into the Chapter Lands, where he's expected to take up the role of hero and become a Wordsmith. The problem is, he's read three books in his life (not counting a car manual), and only ended up at the library in a fit of teenage boredom. Now, thanks to a book with rather too much personality, he's expected to master word-crafting and somehow save the Chapter Lands. I love the writing style - the witty observations and hilarious one-liners constantly made me laugh out loud, and it's very reminiscent of authors such as Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones in the way it mocks fantasy conventions. If I have one criticism to make, it's that the protagonist is absent from some of the action due to the switching of perspectives, and the sense of peril is never sky-high. But these are minor quibbles. This is a well-written, entertaining read and one I'd thoroughly recommend!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Landmark

    Perhaps not the most scintillating, complex fantasy story to be sure, but very entertaining nevertheless. I loved the humour and witty banter, the battles with the bad guys, the interesting characters, and the idea that books and words hold incredible power and are worshipped for their magic (but, we all knew that already, didn't we?). Max Bloom was a well-written character and so believable as a bored, rebellious, snarky teenager who scoffed at the idea of being a hero and was unwilling to parti Perhaps not the most scintillating, complex fantasy story to be sure, but very entertaining nevertheless. I loved the humour and witty banter, the battles with the bad guys, the interesting characters, and the idea that books and words hold incredible power and are worshipped for their magic (but, we all knew that already, didn't we?). Max Bloom was a well-written character and so believable as a bored, rebellious, snarky teenager who scoffed at the idea of being a hero and was unwilling to participate in a conflict with demonic, purple beings from in-between his world and Merelie's. So often, in fantasies, a young lad would instantly jump at the chance to practice magic and save the world. But, not so Max, who had to almost be dragged kicking and screaming into the fray to help the people of the Chapter Lands. His hilarious, sarcastic attitude lent a great deal of enjoyment to the novel. The Dwellers were appropriately horrific creatures with the ability to suck the minds out of people and Lucas Morodai was quite the evil villain. Max's grandpa, Charlie, and the librarian, Imelda, were also very likeable characters. And, of course, I loved Nugget, even with his flatulent affliction! :) All in all, this was a fun story, and I would be more than willing to read more of Mr. Spalding's work in the future.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chayse Sundt

    I always said to people that when reading a book, it feels like I am being transported to another world and follow in the footsteps of the characters. Howver, one if one book actually did transport you to another world. Would you enjoy yourself still? I can't answer that because it depends on the book. Max'd whole world is about to change where his world may be in danger. The one thing that I really loved was that books were simply cherished continously throughout this book. A writer was conside I always said to people that when reading a book, it feels like I am being transported to another world and follow in the footsteps of the characters. Howver, one if one book actually did transport you to another world. Would you enjoy yourself still? I can't answer that because it depends on the book. Max'd whole world is about to change where his world may be in danger. The one thing that I really loved was that books were simply cherished continously throughout this book. A writer was considered a God and magic existed. What could make this world go bad. Oh yeah, something that could possibly destroy two worlds. That could possibly do it. Just stating that point. Max I thought was an interesting character. I think my favorite moment was when he blushed after being kissed. Awwwww! He got a little embrarassed. Just kidding. The characters throughtout this book were the most well-centered characters that I have followed throughout the entire book. That doesn't happen really often. Overall this book, I have to say was interesting and I would pick it up again for a fast read. (Since I did finish it in one sitting). So readers if you are interested in reading an interesting book, come check this book out and give it a chance. I give this book 4 souls!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sean O'Reilly

    The basic premise of this book - a magical. book with the power to transport it's reader to fantastical alternate worlds - is probably the thing of dreams for most readers of fantasy. Spalding's Chapter Lands are a fantastically well realised alternate world which meshes very well with our own. Wordcrafting, the use of the written word as a basis for 'magic', whilst not really explained in detail, is also very appealing. This book could easily have rated as more than three stars but for one, rat The basic premise of this book - a magical. book with the power to transport it's reader to fantastical alternate worlds - is probably the thing of dreams for most readers of fantasy. Spalding's Chapter Lands are a fantastically well realised alternate world which meshes very well with our own. Wordcrafting, the use of the written word as a basis for 'magic', whilst not really explained in detail, is also very appealing. This book could easily have rated as more than three stars but for one, rather significant, stumbling block. That being the fact that I found the central character, Max, to be irritating in the extreme. No doubt this was, to a certain extent, deliberate as he is clearly intended to be an unlikely hero. However I found so much of his speech to be so grating that it became off-putting. In fairness to the author I could well imagine a 15 year old talking like that so perhaps the problem is less with the writing and more with the fact that I am rather older than the target audience. In an afterword Spalding hints that ther might be more books about Max Bloom and the Chapter Lands. If so I might well be tempted to read them but I do hope that young Max has developed a more rounded manner of speech by then.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    Max is an English teenager and fits the stereotype accepted by all grown ups in this country! He enters the local library because he is so bored he is basically driven to it by his brain which is desperate to avoid the latest computer games for an hour or two. His life becomes irrevocably changed by this act of desperation, and not just because he is considerng reading the fourth book of his life (not including a Haynes car manual). I thoroughly enjoyed this book - it does have echoes of Terry Pra Max is an English teenager and fits the stereotype accepted by all grown ups in this country! He enters the local library because he is so bored he is basically driven to it by his brain which is desperate to avoid the latest computer games for an hour or two. His life becomes irrevocably changed by this act of desperation, and not just because he is considerng reading the fourth book of his life (not including a Haynes car manual). I thoroughly enjoyed this book - it does have echoes of Terry Pratchett, who I adore, and despite the character's dislike of Harry Potter, I am reminded of Ms Rawling's style at times, particularly in Harry's early stories. this book is fun - uncomplicated plot, uncomplicated characters and perhaps a fine example of British comedy before it became "sophisticated" and a little angry. If written for the YA market, this oldie throroughly appreciated it! Yes, Max became a little tedious with his one - liners, but isn't that what endears all 17 year olds to those of us who have the "pleasure" of trying to control one (as parents)? I haven't read any other books by Mr Spalding, but I think it will be well worth a try.

  29. 4 out of 5

    elsie

    I had come across mixed reviews of this book, but it seemed fairly interesting and so I thought I would order the kindle sample. A few pages in and something that kicked me right out of the story and irritated me occurred - the author felt it necessary to throw in a random comment about their character reading a Harry Potter book and discarding it as 'boring'. Now, I do not wish to start arguments about the merits (or lack thereof) of the Potter Saga. It is every individuals right to like or dis I had come across mixed reviews of this book, but it seemed fairly interesting and so I thought I would order the kindle sample. A few pages in and something that kicked me right out of the story and irritated me occurred - the author felt it necessary to throw in a random comment about their character reading a Harry Potter book and discarding it as 'boring'. Now, I do not wish to start arguments about the merits (or lack thereof) of the Potter Saga. It is every individuals right to like or dislike it as they choose. What irritates me is that the author felt the need to put it in to this story. It seemed to have no bearing whatsoever on it. A throwaway comment that frankly, caused me to throw away any enthusiasm I might have had. It is not the first time I have seen this done in fiction and the last book I saw it in was barely worth the paper it was printed on. Due to this, I have deleted the sample and will not be purchasing the book. I will also not be recommending it to others.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nettle

    Read the sample, it grabbed me enough to pay the £1.50 or so for the whole thing and I finished it in a day. The author's style is somewhat interesting, it seems to shift around a lot, suddenly a chapter will be in a totally different style and until you get your head around it it's kind of confusing. On top of that, the author has his own voice and he's not afraid to use it, which jarred slightly. Last gripe, it felt like a kids book. That's not always a bad thing but here I think it just pulled Read the sample, it grabbed me enough to pay the £1.50 or so for the whole thing and I finished it in a day. The author's style is somewhat interesting, it seems to shift around a lot, suddenly a chapter will be in a totally different style and until you get your head around it it's kind of confusing. On top of that, the author has his own voice and he's not afraid to use it, which jarred slightly. Last gripe, it felt like a kids book. That's not always a bad thing but here I think it just pulled the story down a bit. It could have done with being a little longer, a little more descriptive in the right places, and a little better paced I think. The story itself wasn't quite what I expected though so that was a plus point, but overall I don't know I'd recommend it. It's not a bad read, but there's better books out there. It was nice to read something British, though!

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