A bunch of books I've recently finished

3 April 2013 08:40

**This post contains spoilers**

You all know I love writing fantasy. Naturally, I also love readingfantasy, and I spend a lot of my spare time doing so. I’d say the roughly 75% of the books I read are some denomination of fantasy, with the remaining 25% split between Science Fiction and Alternative History. A lot of the books I read leave me thinking, and I have plenty of things to say about the various books I read, and I have done so at several occasions, but my "reviews" are still few compared to other stuff I blog about, and there’s quite a few things I want to say about a number of recent reads.

So today, in no particular order, my thoughts about a number of books I’ve recently read.

A Memory of Light Brandon Sanderson Robert Jordan

After years of waiting, the final part of Wheel of Time has arrived. I started reading Wheel of Time probably a decade ago, after getting The Eye of the World as a birthday present. I consider Wheel of Time to be one of the finest fantasy series I have ever read. Sure, parts 7-10 were a bit harder to digest than the other books (especially Crossroads of Twilight), but I’ve never considered Wheel of Time to be tedious (unlike a few other well known fantasy authors I could name).

So, how did I feel about A Memory of Light?

The short version is that I really enjoyed it. Considering the sheer number of characters and subplots that were unresolved, finishing this series was a monstrous task, all the more so because of the untimely death of Robert Jordan. But I think Brandon Sanderson did an admirable job.

Saying goodbye to characters who have been with you for this long is never fun, and plenty of viewpoint characters bite the dust in A Memory of Light. Some of the deaths were quite surprising. All in all, I feel this was a worthy ending to the series.

My biggest peeve, however, is the fact that the "future visions" plot (Aviendha and the Wise Ones), which was only recently introduced (Towers of Midnight if I recall correctly), remains unresolved.

The Dresden Files Jim Butcher

The Dresden Files series was suggested to me by the owner of the local game store. The premise intrigued me: a wizard in Chicago working as a private investigator. The first book offers a glimpse into a vast and complicated alternative reality. Each subsequent novel expans our knowledge of this vast and rich setting, and ups the stakes for the protagonist. There is plenty of conflict both for the main character and those around him, and while most books end on a positive note, it is done in a realistic manner.

The first few novels are stand-alone, but starting with book 3 there is a big arc (the war with the Red Court) that connects the books all the way until book 12 (even if it takes place in the background in many instances), and I’m guessing the whole Winter Knight deal will turn out to be a greater arc as well.

I couldn’t get enough of this series, and I read through all fourteen released novels in only a few months time (I finished Cold Days last week), and now I’m rather frustrated that I have to wait for the next novel. On the positive side, there’s still a number of smaller Dresden Files stories, which I haven’t read. I might also have to look into the Dresden Files RPG.

The Bloodfire QuestTerry Brooks

The second part in Terry Brooks’ latest Shannara trilogy, and one I had been looking forward to reading. I’ve been a fan of Terry’s work for some time, and for a long time I have maintained that his books have grown progressively better over the years (especially the Voyage and High Druid series). That said, I was somewhat disappointed by the Legends series (which takes place after the Word and the Void and Genesis series, but before First King). The Wards of Faerie was a pleasant surprise after that, and I fully expected the second part of the series to continue in this trend.

Instead, I found it to be rather chaotic, jumping around the various concurrent storylines in a fashion that seemed rushed to me. Adding to that, the plot is essentially Elfstones meets High Druid.

Some other things to note I also wanted to write something about the Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks, but I suddenly remembered I had already done so a few months ago. It’s simple: I don’t like reading about atrocities. Some books just strike a wrong chord with me, and while Night Angel definitely was a good story, the Godking’s army ruined it for me.

I’ve also been reading a number of other books lately, most notably the Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi, but seeing as that is Science Fiction I won’t be discussing it in this post.

To-read list I am currently reading New Religion by Tracy Falbe, who did a guest post on this site back in November, and I intend to read the final part in that series once I finish this one. Next up after that is Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb, followed by a re-read of The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I also have The Merchant of Dreams by Anne Lyle on my Kindle, and I can probably think of a few dozen other books I still need to read.