22 January, 2021

Review - Knife of Dreams (Wheel of Time #11) by Robert Jordan

Wow, what a breath of fresh air. It's like I was wearing a mask for months and it was finally taken off. (apropos of the current time?)

Not the cover mind you, that's still one of my least favorite. Perrin always comes off a bit funky in these covers amiright?

Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan (and not anyone else) really did feel like I was reading one of the first 6 books of the series. The first 6 are so good, good enough, at least for me, to get me through the slog that was books 7-10. Which is insane to think that there were 4 books, 600+ to 800+ pages each that you have to "get through" to get to the really good stuff. But here we are.

Now don't get me wrong. Lots of what makes KoD so good is all that 4 book set up. It's almost as if the complete lack of climax in the previous book was made up for by having like 7 climaxes in this one. 

But I didn't just feel a new energy in this book at the end of KoD, it was right off the bat as well. That could have been my previous knowledge from reviews I shouldn't have read, but I felt that energy right away ... in the prologue of all places!

And I've been complaining about these long prologues with the best of them!

Seriously, this made that all worth it. I do have to keep reminding myself of the realization I had when I first reread the first 6 books because even then I saw some issues. The fact that book 3, The Dragon Reborn, had about 7 pages of "the Dragon" was a huge sign and a frustration in my first read. But upon reread, I realized I grew to love the rest of the characters so much more. I had to remind myself of this quite often during the previous 4 books.

5 out of 5 Stars (Up there with the first 6 books, which says a lot, everything)

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20 January, 2021

(audiobook) Review - How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps by Andrew Rowe

I randomly downloaded How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps by Andrew Rowe as a freebie from Audible membership since I pretty much automatically download all the kid-focused ones to use on roadtrips and whatnot with my kiddos and this was better than I could have dreamed.

Now, don't get too caught up in the premise. It's essentially minecraft, Zelda, and Skyrim all bundled into a world that works like a video game and that's completely normal for the people in it. You can level up not only yourself, but your weapons, skills, etc. You can buy potions, you have mana to power your skills and spells.

Don't ask why there's a voice that tells you when you've leveled up. It works, just don't think too hard about it.

Because otherwise, somehow Andrew Rowe was able to distill the essence of what makes these video games great into book form and it's so much fun.

My 9 year old son and I had a blast. We randomly started listening on our last road trip and then stayed up late every night (until Mom caught us!) to finish it. It was such a fun time to spend with my son, even my girls started joining us after a while.

I can't say enough about this. The only real problem I had was when the narrator mispronounced "mana" as "mahna" yet the level up voice called it "mana." I'm just glad someone was aware of how to pronounce it!

TL;DR Don't think, just listen.

If you like those video games, this is the perfect book and it's kid-friendly.

5 out of 5 Stars (do it)

P.S. I also read the first book in Rowe's Arcane Ascension series and I might just be a huge fan of LitRPG because it was also fantastic.

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08 June, 2020

Quoted - Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole has a quote from my review!

I don't think I'll ever become a published author (I think you have to write something first and then it probably has to be semi-decent from there) so getting a review quoted in a book is just about as close as I'll ever get. 

To pick up a book I loved in a Barnes & Noble and see my review at the front is really fun, especially since I'd stopped looking for some time (I used to look constantly!), I can only imagine what it's like as an author to see your published work there. 

Here's the quote from this review:

"[O]ne hell of a ride. Beware, if you pick it up, you may not be able to do anything until you finish. It's that good...Myke Cole is an author to watch and Shadow Ops: Control Point is possibly the best debut of the year. I know it's early yet, but I couldn't put this book down and that goes a long way for me."

25 May, 2020

Review - Stonewielder by Ian Cameron Esslemont (Malazan Empire #3)

Stonewielder (Novels of the Malazan Empire) was probably my least favorite of Esslemont's books and Esslemont's are generally lower on the totem pole than Erikson's main Malazan series, so I guess what I'm saying is this might make for my least favorite Malazan book. Luckily for this book, the Malazan series is arguably my all-time favorite series so this book still rates higher than almost all books ever.

There's a lot going on, as usual here, and Esslemont doesn't seem to be able to handle it as well as Erikson does. I like him when he's got more of a straight-forward story and a focus on characters. However, my position has always been that without Erikson, I think we would be praising Esslemont just about as highly as we do Erikson for what this series accomplishes, even here at its worst. 

I'll let you read the blurb, which is easy enough to find, but one of the things that stood out to me and, even though the comparisons with Erikson are inevitable, really made me start comparing the two, was there is a whole Chain of Dogs type campaign (see Deadhouse Gates) in this book that was adequately done, just not as brilliant as in Deadhouse. I mean, it was hard to read in the sense that I personally felt the privations, and I think that's brilliant writing to be able to pull off, but it's a shame to always have the comparison.

In the end, I think this series is in great hands with Esslemont as long as I keep in mind how utterly brilliant Erikson is when he's at the helm and that no one in the world really had a chance to keep up. This review sounds like a railing against ICE, but I swear I'm trying to defend him. ICE has got the chops for this series that is more vast than anything I've ever read.

4 out of 5 Stars (maybe 2 out of 5 compared to the Malazan series, but not compared to other books I'm not hopelessly in love with)