“perfect entertainment” – review of Bookworm III: The Best Laid Plans on Risingshadow

On the Risingshadow.net website, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Bookworm III: The Best Laid Plans, the third volume in the Bookworm series by Christopher Nuttall. He admits in his introduction that he was “eager to read this novel” because he had enjoyed the first two volumes in the series. He wasn’t disappointed, as he says he found it be a “worthy sequel to Bookworm and Bookworm II: The Very Ugly Duckling” and indeed “even better” than them. He says he was “immediately hooked by the story” and “couldn’t stop reading it, because it was absorbing escapism”.

If you’ve read any of Seregil’s reviews before, you will know that they are always thoughtful, detailed and insightful. His review of Bookworm III is no exception. I’ll try to summarise some of Seregil’s main comments, but you should read the full review yourself.

Artwork: Alison Buck Library photograph: zens/shutterstock.com skull: leonello calvetti/shutterstock.com
Artwork: Alison Buck
Library photograph: zens/shutterstock.com
skull: leonello calvetti/shutterstock.com

Seregil starts by saying that the book is “a well written novel about magic, control, power and family ties in the Golden City. This novel is so entertaining that it will capture the reader’s imagination immediately when he/she begins to read the story”. He goes on to say that the Bookworm series is “one of the most entertaining fantasy series written for fantasy readers who want to read good escapism. Perhaps the most important reason why this fantasy series is such an entertaining series is that Christopher Nuttall has created an interesting and easily likeable protagonist, Elaine. He writes fluently about Elaine, her problems and her adventures. He has also managed to create an interesting fantasy world with a dark and violent past.” He adds that this book is “a perfect novel for readers who are looking for a fast-paced, entertaining and fluently written novel that has plenty of magic (it’s one of the best novels of its kind)”.

Seregil continues by describing how believable he finds Christopher Nuttall’s writing. This is demonstrated by: how he handles relationships, especially that between Elaine and Johan, and Johan’s attraction to the werewolf Daria; the changes in the Conidian family following Johan’s actions in Bookworm II, how Charity is struggling to be the head of the family and has to cope with the sudden arrival of an Emperor and then losing control to him through the oath she is forced to swear; and changes in Golden City, the already damaged social order made worse by the new Emperor and his imposition of martial law. One of the “best scenes in this book”, says Seregil, is when Elaine meets Vlad Deferens, the Emperor. Elaine’s defiance frustrates the Emperor who needs her compliance to use all the forbidden knowledge in her head.

“One of the best things about this novel and the whole series” says Seregil, “is that Christopher Nuttall writes fascinatingly about magic, its possibilities and its limitations” including how “seductive and dangerous magic can be” if used in the wrong way and how “terrifying things could be if somebody were to use forbidden knowledge to do bad things”. Seregil says that he fund it “captivating” that Christopher also writes about the theoretical aspects of the magic, which “added quite a lot of depth to the storyline”.

The Bookworm series story will conclude in the next (fourth) volume, and Seregil says he looks “forward to reading it, because it’ll be fun to find out how the author concludes the story and what happens to the characters”.

Seregil concludes by saying that he’s “amazed at Christopher Nuttall’s ability to write good and easily likeable entertainment, because he seems to be one of the few fantasy authors who are capable of writing fluent escapism that appeals to many readers. I consider him to be one of the best authors of entertaining epic fantasy, because it’s easy to like his novels.” He adds that this book is “perfect entertainment for readers who have enjoyed reading the previous novels in the Bookworm series” and recommends the Bookworm series to fans of Christopher’s books as well as those who are new to his work “because they’re wonderful light-hearted escapism with interesting characters”.

You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow here.