This week I am going to attempt to revive something this blog used to do 3 years or so ago. "Back in the day" I posted a daily roundup of fantasy news, links to interesting reviews, brief mentions of what I read the previous day, etc. I cleared out my RSS feeds last night to get ready for this, so I won't have a lot of news/reviews today...tomorrow should be better for that stuff. This post will give you a taste of what to expect, though.
-Swords of Good Men by Snorri Kristjansson. I finished this last week, reading it in very sporadic bursts. I read the first half in late January, put it down to read some other things, then last week I picked it up again and read it in between Way of Kings reading sessions. Yeah, not the best way to read a book. Thanks to taking a big break between reading sessions, I don't have a strong opinion to share. I can say that I thought it was a darn good read, though it felt a little more like historical fiction than epic fantasy to me. I did enjoy the story, and the last 40% of the novel was excellent. I'm definitely on board to read the 2nd book in the series when it becomes available.
-The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. (p.s..the Kindle edition is still on sale for $2.99)...I read the first 400 pages of WoK when it was originally published approx 3 years ago. I decided I wanted to start over from the beginning, and have it read in time for Words of Radiance. I underestimated the time it would take to read the huge WoK...at the moment I'm about 75% done, so I have a few days left before I will finish WoK. The world doesn't need another Wok review, but I will say that I love it so far. Yeah, the book is big, but I still love getting lost in a Big Fat Fantasy..and this is one done well. It takes a way to get settled into the world and characters, though I wouldn't call the book slow at the start. I enjoyed getting to know a new world, so I don't always want to rush through that. At boy, the 2nd half of WoK has kicked things into high gear. We learn lots of new interesting things about the lead characters (especially things that happened in their past)...and momentum is really picking up. While it does take effort and commitment to finish a book this size, I'm really enjoying it. The series is off to a great start, and I'm looking forward to finishing WoK sometime this week.
-R. Scott Bakker has delivered The Unholy Consult.
-A new trailer for season 4 of Game of Thrones
-An interesting Recluce collectible.
-Another Recluce note...I knew there was a new Recluce book coming in May, but I didn't know we would get two new Recluce books this year.
-King of the Nerds!!!: The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley (I have a copy of this and really need to get to it soon)
Below is this week's list of new fantasy releases...lots of good titles coming this month!
-Baptism of Fire (The Witcher) by Andrzej Sapkowski
-Tracker: A Rylee Adamson Novel (Book 6) by Shannon Mayer
-The Barrow by Mark Smylie
-Half-Off Ragnarok: Book Three of InCryptid by Seanan McGuire
-Immortal Muse by Stephen Leigh
-River of Nightmares (Rogue Angel) by Alex Archer
-The Tropic of Serpents: A Memoir by Lady Trent (A Natural History of Dragons) by Marie Brennan
-Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive, The) by Brandon Sanderson (Yes!)
While Amazon will frequently offer discounts on the Kindle Fire line of tablets, you don't see them offer a sale on their e-ink devices very often. Today they are having a 1 day $20 discount on the Kindle Paperwhite (now $99) and the "basic" Kindle ($49). If those prices interest you, you can get more info here.
The Shadow Throne by Jennifer Nielsen is the final book in the Ascendance Trilogy. I loved the first two books and even stated that The Shadow Throne was one of my most anticipated books of 2014. Thus, I had very high hopes and expectations for this one. The reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are good, so I thought I was in for a great final installment. As you know from the title of this post...something went wrong.
Before I go further, I should say that I am writing this having only read about 70% of the book. But it has been such a huge disappointment, I doubt I read any further. All the things I loved about the first book are totally gone from this one. What propelled the first book, and parts of the second, were Jarom's strong personality, rebelliousness, and risk taking. In the first half of The Shadow Throne (TST henceforth), Jarom is a weak, undecided, hopeless mess. Gone is the strong character that drove the story in the first 2 books, to be replaced by someone else. I get that characters change, etc..but this just didn't feel like the same character. To make matters worse, I feel like a lot of what drives Jarom in this book is just a cheap imitation of things that happened in the earlier books. In other words, it seems like the author thought "readers loved it when Jarom did A, B & C in the first two books, so let's do those things again when he gets in trouble". So we've got a lead character that has lost what made him so interesting, and who repeats the same acts from earlier books. Now let's add a bunch of implausible escapes that shouldn't really happen, and a war story that makes no real sense. Sounds great, doesn't it?
This is probably one of the harshest reviews I've written in the life of this blog (approaching 7 years now I believe). I guess that's what happens when you have huge expectations for a book, and it doesn't come anywhere close to meeting them. Where the first 2 books were good enough to appeal to teens and adults, this one feels much younger. I thought this series would stay on my shelf for many rereads in the future. But with the conclusion being so disappointing, I'm now trying to decide whether to keep the first book (or two) and forget the 3rd ever happened. Or just trade them all in the next time I head to the used bookstore.
As I mentioned earlier, you can find plenty of positive reviews in other places (though not here, so others are enjoying the book.
Each of the 3 books in The Lays of Anuskaya series by Bradley P. Beaulieu are on sale in the Kindle store for $0.99 each. I've never made up my mind about reading this series, but for this price I'll definitely buy all 3 and give them a shot. Links: