Archive for January, 2012
Thursday, January 26th, 2012
As I mentioned in my previous post, 2011 was an awesome year for me when it came to reading. I read and listened to some really fantastic novels and I wanted to give them a little more credit than I was able to before.
The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
One my favorite podcasts is the Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club, and the hosts continuously lauded Abercrombie’s first fantasy trilogy. After such glowing praise, I had to check it out and, damn, I’m glad I did.
The First Law Trilogy is what they refer to “post modern fantasy,” which I guess means that it’s grittier, grimmer, and somehow more realistic than the high fantasy of J.R.R. Tolkien and his contemporaries. As it turns out, I loved that style. The characters were flawed, there was no clear line between good and evil, and the plot was an intricate weave of politics and gruesome warfare. Plus, it featured one of the most awesomely vicious characters I’ve ever come across: the Bloody Nine.
Now, this trilogy isn’t for the faint of heart. If you don’t like blood, this series isn’t for you, but, otherwise, it’s a great modern fantasy trilogy and I recommend it highly.
The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
Believe it or not, I actually followed Pat’s blog for several months before I picked up The Name of the Wind and, in that time I learned something: Pat is an awesome dude and he writes a very honest and sometimes very humorous blog. So, going in, I had pretty high expectations and I wasn’t disappointed. The Name of the Wind was amazing…I absolutely loved Kvothe’s adventures.
Now, I actually timed this out pretty well and finished the first novel right as the second was published and as soon as I finished The Name of the Wind, I tore into Wise Man’s Fear. Rothfuss’s second novel was also very good, but, despite it’s massive acclaim, I actually liked the first novel a little better. Regardless, I cannot wait to see how the story ends! The Kingkiller Chronicles are highly recommended.
The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks
I actually picked up the whole trilogy on Amazon.com for no other reasons that I had heard of the author and it was a great deal. As it turns out, it was a steal! Although it was the last book I read in 2011, I’m pretty sure The Way of Shadows was my fastest read of the year. I just could not put it down. I’m currently reading the third book in the trilogy now, but I would already recommend it highly to any fantasy reader.
One of my reading goals of 2011 was to try out some new authors (I actually tried out many new authors), but I was especially eager to find out what the big deal was about Neil Gaiman. After reading The Graveyard Book, Neverwhere, a couple volumes of The Sandman, and, most importantly, American Gods, I think I understand. Neil Gaiman gets fantasy. His writing perfectly embodies that sense of awe and wonder that truly make a story a thing of magic.
The bottom line is this: I’m really glad I found Neil Gaiman this year. If you haven’t read his works, seriously, you need to get on that!
Well, I think that’s all I really wanted to say. I don’t know if 2012 can top 2011, but I’m up for the challenge.
Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
Okay, so the title is a mouthful, but io9.com has posted a great list of fantasy series to pick up while waiting for the next Song of Ice and Fire book, or really anytime for that matter. Here’s the breakdown with some of my own comments:
- Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
I’ve read both books in this series that have been published. I really loved the first novel and thoroughly enjoyed the second, though not quite as much as the first. I’m starting to realize that this happens to me a lot (as you’ll see below). I tend to love origin stories so the first book in a series ends up appealing to me the most.
- Malazan, Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
I haven’t read this series. I think it’s 12 books long so I’m not jumping in anytime soon (at least not until I finish the Wheel of Time). I think I actually prefer one-shots or trilogies to lengthy series, although I can’t get enough of the Dresden Files.
- The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
I thought this was a pretty good series. As usual, I loved the first book, but I found the third book and the conclusion to the series to be a little underwhelming. There was a lot that just seemed to go unanswered, although I suppose Hobb probably goes into more detail in her other series set in the same universe, which I haven’t read.
- The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
Bloody awesome. I loved each book equally, all 5 stars. Abercrombie’s story is so delightfully cynical, I just couldn’t love it more. Great characters, great plot, great action. Need I say more?
- The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks
I’m actually reading the third book in this series right now after tearing through the first two. I LOVED the first book and liked the second very well (see, what did I tell you?). The third has been a little slow to start off (in comparison), but I think it will be really good too.
- The Sundering Duology by Jacqueline Carey
I really don’t know anything about this series, but I guess I’ll have to add it to the to-read list.
- The Black Company by Glen Cook
I’ve heard from other readers that this is a really good series, but that’s about all I know. Another one for the to-read list.
- Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
I got this book for Christmas and I think it is literally the thickest paperback I’ve ever seen. It’s literally like 1200 pages and the print is microscopic. Frankly, I’m a little intimidated to even pick it up, but I’ve heard it’s really good.
- The Shadowmarch Series by Tad Williams
Tad Williams is one of those authors that I’ve heard a lot about, but I’ve never read any of this books. I guess this is a good place to start.
- The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. LeGuin
I actually just read the first book in the series and I thought it was really good. It’s also a nice, quick read if you are looking for something a little shorter than some of the typical fantasy tomes. I’m definitely interested in continuing the saga.
So, I guess the only other thing I should mention is that I’m not actually waiting for the next book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. I read the first novel back in 2007 when I just getting into fantasy and it didn’t really appeal to me at the time.
However, seeing as how so many books that I love are compared to it, I can’t help but wonder if I had a temporary lapse of sanity or what. Eventually, I’m going to have to give the series another shot, but for now, my to-read list is plentiful enough.
Sunday, January 15th, 2012
When I decided to put together a post recapping my reading experiences from 2011, I looked back at what a wrote last year and it’s pretty clear that I was pleased with the quality of novels that I read. Without question, 2011 was even better.
First, I met my goal of 24 novels, which was one more than what I read in 2010. Second, almost all of the novels that I read were completely kick ass. I literally rated 20 of those 24 novels as 4 stars or better. That pretty much says it all, but here are some additional stats.
Of the 24 books that I read, 2 were graphic novels and 6 were audio books. According to Goodreads, the page count for those novels was 10,102, which was just a bit more than 2010′s 9,472. If you are interested, you can see every more stats at Goodreads.
As I mentioned before, the books that I read this year were pretty awesome. Here’s the breakdown:
- Side Jobs (stories from The Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher
- Princep’s Fury (Codex Alera #5) by Jim Butcher
- Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins
- Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
- The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
- The Shadow Rising (Wheel of Time #4) by Robert Jordan
- A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle #1) by Ursula K. LeGuin
- The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle #2) by Patrick Rothfuss
- The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson
- Daemon by Daniel Suarez
- The Blade Itself (The First Law #1) by Joe Abercrombie
- Before They Are Hanged (The First Law #2) by Joe Abercrombie
- Last Argument of Kings (The First Law #3) by Joe Abercrombie
- Ghost Story (The Dresden Files #13) by Jim Butcher
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman
- The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle) by Patrick Rothfuss
- The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson
- Old Man’s War (Old Man’s War #1) by John Scalzi
- The Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks
As you can see, I read a lot of great books last year. I still want to go into some more detail about some of these reads, but I think I’ll leave that for another post.
Monday, January 2nd, 2012
Happy New Year folks! In January last year, I did a little recap of my favorites from 2010. This year, I’ll keep with the same tradition and report on the novels, television, and movies that I enjoyed most in 2011.
I read A LOT of killer books in 2011. I’m pretty sure my next post will be dedicated solely to my favorite reads in 2011, but here’s a quick glimpse.
These are the novels that I enjoyed the most in 2011. You’ll notice that, as usual, all of the novels fall into the science fiction / fantasy genre.
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman
- The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
- The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
- Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
These are the novels that I enjoyed more than I expected. Both were excellent.
- The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
These are the novels that didn’t live up to my expectations. Boneshaker was all right, but too simple. The other was just terrible.
- Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
- The Phoenix Unchained by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
Oh man, this was tough. I read a lot of great books this year and many of them had wonderful characters. In the end, I think I would choose the following as my favorites.
- Logan Ninefingers (from Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy)
- Kvothe (from Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller chronicles)
- Mr. Wednesday (from Neil Gaiman’s American Gods)
Here are the movies that I saw this year that I found the most enjoyable. I didn’t really watch a lot of movies this year so I kept the list pretty short.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (pt 2)
- X-Men First Class
Best Television Show
These are the shows that I enjoyed the most in 2011. This is actually a little tough as most shows air of the span of two calendar years, but I did my best.
- The Big Bang Theory
- Warehouse 13
Best “New to Me” Television Show
I watch a lot of television programming via Netflix. These are the shows that I started watching in 2011 and enjoyed thoroughly.
- The Big Bang Theory
- Twin Peaks
- Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory)
- Richard Castle (Castle)
I could have gone into a lot more detail, but I really enjoy making lists and I didn’t want to over complicate things. As I mentioned, I think I’ll do a separate post regarding the books I read, because I would like to delve into a bit more detail there.
So long 2011 and thanks for all the fish!