While I've been a slug sitting at home, I've had a chance to read some good fantasy fiction. Believe it or not, I've read most of these since the end of June since I have too much time on my hands.
The rest of my time...I'm rewriting and rewriting, lol.
Here then are brief reviews of some of the books I've read. To be continued in Part 2 (and there probably will be a Part 3).
Tor Fantasy, 656 pages
Any praise or hype you've heard about this book is legit: I could hardly wait to get through it! It's pretty dark, especially as we come in on the story when the city of Elantris has already withered and died. Prince Raoden of Arelon, a city which sits right next to the decayed Elantris, comes down with a dread disease that has afflicated certain people of Arelon. Although the Prince's father hides the fact by officially pronouncing him dead, he's anything but; instead, he's sent off to Elantris to die along with all the other poor souls who've been likewise afflicted. (Think of zombies, the walking dead, etc., and you'll have an idea of the disease.)
The King hasn't had to deal with the Prince's betrothed, who has decided to come to Arelon anyway, despite not being married to him in body; however, she signed a contract, and she is legally his widow.
So, do the two meet up? Or are we to tune in to see what Sarene, Raoden's widow, can uncover about the King, about Elantris, about certain factions within and without Arelon?
My Take On It
The characters felt real to me. I cared what happened to Raoden and what happened to Sarene. There is a villian to the story, but Mr. Sanderson wrote something within the character that makes him somewhat sympathetic; he's even somewhat heroic near the end of the story. This might be a dark-ish story, but it's also about surviving and trying to do the right thing in the face of darkness and evil.
You won't want to put it down until the very end, and you might actually feel a little sorry, or at least have some pity, for the villain at the end.
DAW Trade, 672 pages
FYI, the version I picked up is different in the number of pages; it's actually a bit longer than the version noted above. No idea why, but thought I'd throw this out there.
I read this before I started Elantris. Although this is what I think most writing teachers would call a frame story (Kvothe, the main character, recounts what has happened to him - and it's quite a lot! - to a scribe in the inn Kvothe is now running).
My Take On It
This starts out slow, but after the first chapter or so, I got into it. Mr. Rothfuss has drawn an interesting character in Kvothe, in that he's worth listening to; he's had quite an eventful life, to this point (including getting involved with strange creatures, having to deal with bullies, and falling in love, although his love interest keeps flitting in and out of his life).
I actually started to cry when Kvothe told of a somewhat old man who helped the street urchins of a particular town; he especially helped those who physically could not do much, and as such, slipped through the cracks and onto the hard streets, left to die, no doubt. I also shed some tears later on, after he'd grown up a bit and went his own way, where he felt very much alone. I can't tell you how often I've felt like that, especially lately, with all the personal stuff bogging me (and my husband) down.
There's some violence in this, but nothing near what's in the latest Tarantino offering, or any Tarantino offering, for that matter. ;-)
I read this before reading Elantris. Definitely worth reading, although, as is typical for fantasy, it's in three installments, so you have to wait until the 2nd one (Day 2) comes out.
Tor Fantasy, 672 pages
I loved Elantris so much, I went out and got this book; I hesitated on buying the 2nd and 3rd books, because I've been burned before.
The characters, which are different from those in Elantris, are what make this book, and the entire series, such a great read. (What else is new, right? :-)) There's a Prologue, and although I know some do not read Prologues, make sure you read this one, as it sets up what happens after. It doesn't seem so at the time you're reading it, but trust me, you'll have "Aha!" moments later on...
This mostly in Vin's POV, a poor teenage girl who makes a living on the streets of the capital, Luthadel. Most of the world is ruled by a tyrant who just seems to kill people at will. There's a method to his horrible madness, which only becomes clear in Book 2.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Vin has some sort of power in which she can soothe people, so even when the head of the particular band of thieves she's fallen in with screws up with those in power, she can soothe away any unpleasantness. Except that she does it inside a building where those inside notice such things. She gets away with it, for the time being, helped out by Kelsier and his group, a group that intends to shake the very foundations of the world by eventually killing the tyrant (the Lord Ruler).
My Take On It
There's magic up the ying-yang in this one, with people swallowing all sorts of stuff that helps them bound around (literally). It gets tedious from time to time in these sections when Vin comes into her own, but I understood it was necessary, else, why bother having it in the story? :-) The character of Vin is intriguing, as are all the characters, major and minor, in this book. What I also liked about Mr. Sanderson's words is how he describes things; he goes into just the right amount of detail before outstaying his welcome (or throwing in every last little twitch or pulls on a braid).
Naturally, I bought both of the next books in the series, confident I wouldn't be bored or pissed off midway through the 2nd one.
Love and kisses,
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