Shadows of Self

/ Books /

I finished Brandon Sanderson’s Shadows of Self a few days ago. It’s the seventh novel published in 2015 that I’ve read and actually the second by Brandon Sanderson. Shadows of Self is a Mistborn novel set in the “Wax and Wayne” time period, which has very “turn of the century” flare to it.

I really liked The Alloy of Law, the first novel in this time period, so I was pretty excited about Shadows of Self and, while I thought it was pretty good (4 out of 5 stars), it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. In this novel, Sanderson pulled in the mythology from the first trilogy and worked it into the very fibers of the plot. In some ways, I liked that, but, in other ways, I didn’t.

Alloy of Law was so unique and unexpected. You could pick up little hints from the original series and get a vague idea of how and why the world progressed as it did, but it was fresh and new and had a life of its own. But then in Shadows of Self, Sanderson basically just went and explained all of the mysteries and connected everything very firmly to the characters and events from the original series, which made it feel much more like an extension of the original series than its own unique world.

Despite that, the plot was excellent. It was fast paced and exciting with plenty of suspense and mystery to keep you interested. And the ending was so good. So good.

I was also very glad to be reunited with Wax, Wayne, and Marasi. I really like all of the characters from this series. They are each very different, but work very well together.

Hugo Analysis

I think there’s a pretty decent chance that this will make my Hugo nomination list. If I had to make it right now, I think it would, but it’s already kind of a tough call. Out of the seven novels that I’ve read so far that were published this year, none of them really stand out as being way better than the rest so it’s pretty hard for me to figure out which two I would cut, but it may get easier as I read more.

What’s Next?

Right now, I’m listening to Red Rising by Pierce Brown, which is really good so far. I’ll almost definitely listen to Golden Sun after that, which will give me another 2015 novel. And then I think I might dig into John Scalzi’s Old Man’s war universe, because I read the first one a long time ago and really liked it, bought the second a year and haven’t listened to it yet, and I’m hearing good things about the latest installment, The End of All Things.

As for actual reading, I’ll be traveling soon so I’m going to stick with what’s on my Kindle. I have at least a half dozen novels lined up on there, but none of them are from 2015 so I guess I’ll have to take another hiatus for a bit.

Review: The Well of Ascension

/ Books /

The Well of Ascension The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Well of Ascension was a fantastic follow up to Brandon Sanderson’s first book in the series, Mistborn: The Final Empire. Overall, I really enjoyed this novel…maybe not as much as the first, but still enough to give it 5 stars.

Sanderson’s talent as a writer is multifaceted and he showcases his capabilities in this series. In this series he shows that he can write a strong female protagonist, craft a unique and creative magic system, and build a complex and dystopian society.

As I already mentioned, one of the best parts of this series is the magic system. It’s pretty simple in concept, but there always seems to be new aspects that can be unlocked, lending a little intrigue and unpredictability to the story. It truly seems like the perfect compliment to the story that Sanderson is weaving.

I also love the characters. It’s true that some of the secondary characters from the first novel are featured less prevalently in this novel, but that doesn’t detract from their overall appeal. Sazed, Ham, Clubs, Dockson, Spook, and Breeze–they are all well-written and lovable in their own way. However, I found OreSeur to be a particularly intriguing character in this novel. He definitely made things interesting.

Another great aspect of the novel is simply the mythos, the history of the Lord Ruler, The Final Empire, the Deepness, the Hero of Ages, and the Well of Ascension. Sanderson does a fantastic job stringing along little tidbits of information that only hint at the real stories behind such mysteries. Even now, I’m still itching to find out more about this world that Sanderson has created–why it has come to be the retched place that it is.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Well of Ascension and the Mistborn series as a whole. If you’ve ever been thinking about trying our Sanderson’s work, the Mistborn trilogy is an excellent place to work. He has quickly become a favorite author of mine as he has proven to be an expert at writing a great fantasy story with all of the quintessential components, but none of the cliche.

View all my reviews

2011 Reading Resolutions

/ Books /

I didn’t really make a New Year’s resolution for 2011, but I have given a little thought to what books I’m excited about reading. I typically read about 20 novels a year (which is way less that what I actually want to read) and basically everything I read tends to fall into the category of speculative fiction (i.e. science fiction and fantasy).

So with that in mind, here are some novels (both old and new) that I’m looking forward to reading in the next year.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I’ve been dying to read this for awhile. I keep hearing so many good things about it and keep seeing it near the top of lists that taut “top fantasy novels of the decade” and so forth. Luckily, I’ve got a copy sitting on my mantle just waiting for me to pick it up. My goal is to have it read by the time Wise Man’s Fear comes up in the spring.

Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I got The Hunger Games for Christmas and read it by the new year. A very fast read and a gripping story. I’m definitely excited to see what happens next.

Side Jobs and Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Side Jobs is a short story collection and Ghost Story is the thirteenth novel in the Dresden Files, which is one of my favorite series right now. I picked up Storm Front when I was travelled a few years ago and immediately read the next seven. I finally caught up with Changes last year.

The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

These are the second and third novels in the Mistborn trilogy. I read Mistborn: The Final Empire in late 2010 and I thought it was fantastic. I actually bought the whole trilogy so I’ve got them on hand and I plan to read them both this year.

Princep’s Fury by Jim Butcher

This is book five in the Codex Alera epic fantasy series. I don’t like it as well as the Dresden Files, but it’s still good. I got this for Christmas as well so I’ll definitely have to slot it in this year.

Read Books that I Own

I got several novels for Christmas and I’m a little backlogged at the moment. Another one of my goals is to simply reduce the number of unread novels in my house.

Read a New Author

There are tons of authors that I’ve never read that I’ve been longing to try out. I think the odds are good that I’ll pick up something by one of these authors this year: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Joe Abercrombie, and China Mieville.

Read Something Random

Every year, despite everything else I want to read, I’ll stumble across something on GoodReads.com and just run to the library and pick it up. I like doing that. It’s nice to just read some spontaneously once in awhile and it reminds me that reading is something I do for fun, not a chore.

Well, I think that’s pretty much it for 2011. I think it’s going to be a great year for reading. I’ve discovered so many great authors and series lately, the hardest part is finding time to read them all.

What I Read in 2010

/ Books /

2010 was a good year for reading. I stumbled upon some great series and continued reading some others that I have enjoyed for years. I even found time to read a classic or two that I’ve had on my list for a quite awhile.

In the end, I read 17 novels and 6 graphic novels in 2010. That’s one novel (and six graphic novels) over 2009. Those 23 novels totaled 9301 words, compared to 2009’s 6939. You can see even more stats at goodreads.com.

So I think I can be happy with the amount I read, but even more so, I’m happy with the quality. I ended up ranking everything I read between 3 and 5 stars, with 5 claiming the greatest number of novels. Here’s the breakdown:

3 Stars

  1. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  2. The Dispossed: An Ambiguous Utopia by Ursula K. Le Guin
  3. God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert

4 Stars

  1. Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer
  2. The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan
  3. Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind
  4. Cursor’s Fury by Jim Butcher
  5. Captain’s Fury by Jim Butcher
  6. Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb
  7. Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb
  8. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow
  9. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

5 Stars

  1. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
  2. Turn Coat by Jim Butcher
  3. Changes by Jim Butcher
  4. Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  5. Scott Pilgrim vs The World by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  6. Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  7. Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  8. Scott Pilgrim vs The Universe by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  9. Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  10. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
  11. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Assassin’s Apprentice

Assassin’s Apprentice is the first book in the Farseer Trilogy and I thought it was fantastic. Fitz was such an amazing character–it was impossible not to related to him on some level. I really liked the magic system as well–it was nice to see something a bit more subtle. Really excellent.

The Dresden Files

Turn Coat was great, but I was also very impressed with Changes. Just as the title suggests, Jim Butcher introduced some major plot twists in this novel, the biggest coming on the first and last pages. I won’t say more so as not to spoil, but I will say that I can’t wait to read Ghost Story, which is slated for an April release.

Scott Pilgrim

I’ve talked a lot about Scott Pilgrim on this blog. In short, I saw the movie, I loved it. Then I read the comics, I loved them too. They really spoke to the hipster inside me that I didn’t even realize was there.

Mistborn

I had been dying to read something by Brandon Sanderson for some time and this novel came to me with high acclaim. Despite all the hype, Mistborn lived up. The characters were fantastic and the magic system was so creative. I bought the whole trilogy and I can’t wait to dig into the next one.

The Hunger Games

Of the 5 stars, I really loved them all, but The Hunger Games was probably the biggest surprise. I really had no idea what I was in for–it was just so engaging; I couldn’t put it down until I was finished.

As I mentioned, I really lucked out in 2010 and read a lot of novels that I really enjoyed. I’ve already locked up several novels that I can’t wait to tear into in 2011 and I’m anticipating another great year in reading. I’m planning another blog already where I discuss what’s in store!

2010 in Review

/ Books, Geek Stuff, Movies, TV /

With the coming of the new year, I decided to reflect on the books I read and the movies and television that I watched in 2010.

Books

Best Reads

  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  2. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
  3. Changes by Jim Butcher
  4. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Best Surprise

  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  2. Changes by Jim Butcher

Biggest Disappointment

  1. Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb
  2. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Best Character

  1. Winner: Kelsier (from Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn)
  2. Runner up: Fitz (from Robin Hobb’s Farseer series)

Movies

Best Movie

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  2. Scott Pilgrim vs The World
  3. Inception
  4. Tron Legacy

Most Anticipated Movie

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Television

Best Television Show

  1. Lost
  2. Chuck

Best New Television Show

  1. The Event

Best “New to Me” Television Show

  1. Supernatural
  2. Arrested Development

Best Good Guy

  1. Chuck (Chuck)
  2. Hurley (Lost)

Best Bad Guy

  1. The Man in Black (Lost)
  2. Volkov (Chuck)

Hottest Lady

  1. Greta (Summer Glau) on Chuck
  2. Sarah on Chuck

So long 2010 and thanks for all the fish.

New Books! Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy

/ Books /

I’ve had Mistborn on my “to read” list for some time now (along with about 50 other novels), but my resolve to read the trilogy has increased significantly lately.

First, while wandering around the Gaslamp district during Comic-Con, my brother and I went into Borders to borrow some Wi-fi and I noticed that Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, and Brent Weeks were going to be there doing readings, signings, and the like while I was in town. I was really excited until I realized that I had never read anything by any of those authors.

Second, the SciFi and Fantasy Book Club on Goodreads chose Mistborn as their August Fantasy novel.

Third, I discovered that Amazon.com had the trilogy listed at $16.30 (which is a really good deal for three new paperbacks) and I jumped on them. They came today and I can’t wait to tear into them.

But there is one problem: I promised myself that I wouldn’t start a new series until I finished at least one other series that I’m currently partway through. So I guess Mistborn will have to sit and wait patiently on my bookshelf for me to finish reading Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy (at the very least).

I really want to read some of the newer Fantasy work that’s coming out, but I feel the need to work through some of the classic works first. Right now, I’m somewhere in the mid-90s. I just hope I catch up eventually.