Christmas Book Haul!

 

So every year when I’m asked what I want for Christmas I say I want something practical, and inexpensive. Something like socks, a belt, undershirts.. that kind of thing. Actually, I say that I don’t want anything, and when that fails I go with practical, and inexpensive.

I’m good with this for a couple of reasons. First, because I’m broke, and the odds are good that I didn’t get you anything. It is what it is so don’t get me anything, or if you do keep it small. Second, I’m a simple, practical guy. A bag of socks means I don’t have to buy socks this year, and now I won’t have to do laundry for at least a week.

Of course every year a few people, usually women, find this arrangement unacceptable. I think the problem is that they do laundry regularly themselves, and so don’t appreciate my appreciation of new socks. Regardless when this happens I ask for a book. Books are something I always want, and even if bought new are fairly inexpensive as presents go.

These were my Christmas books this year:

 

 

 

 

All of these are books I’ve wanted to read for a while, and don’t own. I haven’t been able to find them at my local used bookstores, and now I have them new! I finished reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things, and the rest will be on the very top of my to be read list for 2017.

I’m very excited to continue the Broken Earth series by N.K. Jemisin. I loved The Fifth Season, and I’ve heard that if anything The Obelisk Gate is even better. I want to save it as a treat so I’ll probably read it last. I know that might be backward, but my not reading it right away is a weird compliment to Jemisin. Besides the longer I wait now the less time I’ll have to wait between books two and three.

I’ve just started Among Others by Jo Walton, and so far it is good. It came highly recommended, and is my first read of Walton’s. If it is as good as I’ve heard I’ll have a new author to check out.

I always love Neil Gaiman’s works, and Stardust should be his last adult novel I’ve yet to read. Well, until his new novel, Norse Mythology, comes out in 2017. I would save this for a rainy day as with The Obelisk Gate, but I doubt I’ll be able to help myself.

Finally, I’ve been meaning to read Stephen King’s Dark Tower series for years. There are just so many books I want to read, and I have heard mixed reviews on it. People seem to either love it or hate it. With the series coming to tv I decided to give it a read and find out for myself. I’m hopeful.

I hope everyone else out there got a stack of books they can read this year as well. Happy New Year Everyone!

Book Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things ☆☆☆☆

21535271This was one of the books I requested as a gift for Christmas this year, and I was thrilled to get it! At less than 200 pages, my paperback edition was 176, it was a quick read. I would have easily finished this in one sitting if given the time, but said time is a luxury my 3 year old would never allow!

I should start off saying that you do not want to read this story without having first read The Name of the Wind. You need to do this in order to give this story context. Otherwise this is going to be a dull, and frustrating read. Rothfuss himself says as much in his forward, and then again in greater detail in his afterword.

I should also say that this is not your traditional story. Again Rothfuss mentions this in his forward. I would post that here and be done with it, but I don’t have my copy of the book handy. Just know that there isn’t much in the way of plot, or a traditional ending. There also isn’t any real dialogue, or action. In the now repeatedly mentioned forward, or was it the afterword, it says there isn’t any conflict, but I disagree. The conflict is internal. Keeping that in mind I can definitely recommend this book to everyone who enjoyed Name of the Wind.

This is a story about Auri, one of the characters in the aforementioned book. It is glimpse into her life, thoughts, and unique perspective. It is a fleeting glance, and bittersweet. There is so much selflessness, love, and innocence in Auri, and at the same time so much pain, and loneliness. She is very much a damaged person; and yet beautiful. In her own way she is perfect.

I wish I knew exactly what happened to her. Whatever it was it has left her scarred, and her mind has retreated into her inner child. I wish I could have prevented this, and she could have taken her place in the world above. I wish I could help her. Failing that I wish could hold her in my arms and comfort her as I would my own child.

I can’t. Wishes are for stars. I do hope she will be alright in the final book to come. Beyond that even, in all the days of her life that pass long after Rothfuss pens his last word in this series, and our window into this world is shuttered forever.

 

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

EDIT – I found that forward on Goodreads.

You might not want to buy this book.

I know, that’s not the sort of thing an author is supposed to say. The marketing people aren’t going to like this. My editor is going to have a fit. But I’d rather be honest with you right out of the gate.

First, if you haven’t read my other books, you don’t want to start here.

My first two books are The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. If you’re curious to try my writing, start there. They’re the best introduction to my world. This book deals with Auri, one of the characters from that series. Without the context of those books, you’re probably going to feel pretty lost.

Second, even if you have read my other books, I think it’s only fair to warn you that this is a bit of a strange story. I don’t go in for spoilers, but suffice to say that this one is … different. It doesn’t do a lot of the things a classic story is supposed to do. And if you’re looking for a continuation of Kvothe’s storyline, you’re not going to find it here.

On the other hand, if you’d like to learn more about Auri, this story has a lot to offer. If you love words and mysteries and secrets. If you’re curious about the Underthing and alchemy. If you want to know more about the hidden turnings of my world…

Well, then this book might be for you.

The Kingkiller Chronicle Movie/TV Adaptation

Okay so I knew that the rights to series had been bought by Lionsgate back in 2015. Movies, a tv show, and games?! I could not have been more excited! I remember reading about writers being selected earlier this year for movie adaptations. Awesome! It gave me hope that this wouldn’t be just another cool thing that never quite panned out.

How then did I miss the announcements that the series now has a producer, and the tv show has a showrunner/writer?! That’s a fanboy fail! Still my self disappointment is easily overcome by excitement! This is really going to be happening. Next up casting! Just please, please, please, please!, finish the series before you get too caught up in all the show biz Rothfuss!

Here’s another cool article I found while scouring the internet for more information.

Book Review: Neverwhere ☆☆☆☆☆

51io310opcl-_sx307_bo1204203200_I loved this book, as I have loved all Neil Gaiman’s books. This one might be my favorite of the ones I’ve read so far. It is different than American Gods, Anansi Boys, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. For starters it didn’t have the heavy mythology/folklore that those books did. Its tone was also lighter than they were. Possibly as a direct result. Which isn’t to say there weren’t dark moments of course.

Neverwhere definitely felt more like a traditional fantasy than the previously mentioned novels. Of course it was still a Gaiman. Which I suppose is saying that while it was more familiar it was still nothing like traditional fantasy! Not a helpful I know.

There was a blurb on the cover crediting this with being a modern Alice in Wonderland which I feel is a better description than any I could give: “A dark contemporary ‘Alice in Wonderland’ … Imaginative, well-crafted [and] highly visual.” – Minneapolis Star Tribune.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Book Review: Eragon ☆☆

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I remember trying to read this shortly after it hit the shelves. I also remember hating it, and putting it down unfinished. My fiance loves the series which, along with her choice in men, confirms her questionable taste. Having excellent taste myself I flatly refused to ever pick this book up again.

So here I am forcing myself read not just Eragon, but the entire Inheritance Cycle. Joy. You can stop pouting now baby! That said while I love my fiance dearly I did not love this book. Or even like it.

The story itself is a generic Tolkien fantasy with elves, dwarves, orcs, and Nazgul. They aren’t called orcs or Nazgul, but that’s exactly what they are. By itself this wouldn’t be terrible. I mean you could argue Robert Jordan did the same thing in his Wheel of Time series with the trollocs, and myrddaal. And the WoT is my all time favorite fantasy series.

Along the same lines it was a travel log kind of adventure. Have to get from point A to point B. Now B to C. Now if we can only get to point D.. Again by itself not a terrible thing, but the general fantasy tropes are just so numerous in this book.

Then there is the flawless, beautiful elf maiden that he sees in his dreams, and having never met falls in love with immediately. Worse still you just know she will fall in love with him as well. This is despite the fact that we are led to believe she is older than any mortal man alive today, and he is a 16 year old boy. Because what grown woman wouldn’t fall romantically in love with child?

Also there is a talking cat. Why do authors love to do the talking cats? I was okay with him being able to kinda sorta communicate with animals. I’m all for that kind of druid/ranger magic, but of all the animals to talk back it had to be the cat?

Okay so that last one was personal. I hate cats. I know that makes me a bad person, but I do.

What isn’t personal was my disappointment at the lack of subtlety in this story. I knew each, and every twist in this story damn near the moment the characters/developments were introduced. No spoilers, but the thing with Brom was so obvious I did realize it was supposed to be a surprise until the mystery was revealed. It literally upset me that Eragon was himself surprised. I mean damn dude.

And you know the writing expression show don’t tell? Good for you because Christopher Paolini surely doesn’t. I never felt like I was getting to experience anything. Not the places Eragon went to, or the fights/battles etc. It was more like one very detailed summary.

I will say that he did a decent job with both the dragon, and magic in this book. The dragon, Saphira, was interesting, and intelligent. I would love to see the story from her POV. I’m not a huge fan of the true names have power system, but he does a decent job of it. Besides, Rothfuss uses it, and he is a Master of the craft.

Overall I was mostly bored as I read. I couldn’t get interested in the story or characters. It felt generic.

Now I know Paolini was 15 when he wrote this book, and I am told the series gets better as it goes on. I hope so because I’m committed to reading the series in its entirety. The things we do for love!

My Rating:☆☆

Book Review: The Long Earth ☆☆☆

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I didn’t like this book. You won’t either. Except that I did. Maybe you will too.

I’ve read reviews which state this should have been a short story, and I can see their point. The plot feels stretched thin at times. I didn’t particularly enjoy the ending. The pacing is very slow, and generally not much is happening. To be completely honest large sections of this book bored me. That being said I found I couldn’t put it down.

It wasn’t because of the characters. Most of the characters were kind of meh. Not bad, but not people I cared about. This includes our hero Joshua. He’s a good kid, but yeah, meh. I did however enjoy Sally Lindsey who is a minor character that accompanies our hero, and the AI, Lobsang. More about Lobsang later.

Instead of story, or characters what drew me in were the ideas. I’m a sucker for parallel universes, and this book is all about them. Specifically Earth’s infinite parallels. I loved exploring the ramifications of civilization should humanity be given access to unlimited land, and resources. And there are so many. Political, economic, and religious to name the big ones.

There are other sentient life forms in this book, but much like most of the characters I found myself not truly caring about them. Again it was the ideas that kept me engaged. Reading about humanity’s treatment of them in the book was far more interesting than the creatures themselves.

And of course there is Lobsang. I love a good AI, or rather AI written well. When I imagine an AI becoming sentient, yes these are the things that fill my idle thoughts, I imagine it being much like this. I might have read the book for this alone.

My Rating:☆☆☆

Book Review: The Great Book of Amber ☆☆☆☆

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 I recently reread The Chronicles of Amber, and it is by far one of my favorite fantasy/scifi series. It details the magical world of Amber, and the infinite variations which extend from Amber. The further away the variation the more different the world, such as Earth.

This edition contains the complete series in one volume. As the series begins the royal family are either dead, missing, or actively trying to kill each other to take the throne. They plot, betrayal, duel, raise armies, torture, maim, and kill one another. During all this a looming darkness threatens their world, and so every other! That’s just the first five books.

There is a whole other plot for the next five, but to talk about it would spoil the first five as it builds upon that story line. It is obvious there would likely have been at least five more books wrapping up this epic, but sadly Zelazny died before penning them.

The pace is fast throughout the series never bogging down. I loved the magic of this series. Trumps, and Shadow captivated me as much now as it did the first time I read it. In addition to the fantasy elements there are science fiction, and mystery elements to the story that I quite enjoyed.

There are a few things that were painfully obvious to me during this reread. Zelazny does recap quite a lot, and basically connects all the dots for you instead of letting you get there on your own. There is also a good bit of the ‘As You Know Watson’ info dumping that is so common in older/classic SciFi. Finally, while I enjoyed many of the characters they are relatively two dimensional, and often basically the same.

That being said I will end as I started by repeating I love this series! I recommend  it to anyone who loves Fantasy, SciFi, alternate worlds etc.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆