Book Review

Book Review: Elantris (Elantris #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 638 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: May 1st, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

AMAZING. PER USUAL.

I’m never surprised that I always end up loving any book by Sanderson. Occasionally with a favorite author, you run across a book that just doesn’t click, 13 books later, and I DO NOT HAVE THAT ISSUE. I love them all.

This was no exception. Elantris is one of Sanderson’s older titles that I *think* some claim is a lesser novel of his? While no Stormlight Archive, it’s still a superb read. I listened to it on audio and thought the narrator was great too.

One of my favorite parts was the romance (who’s surprised?). It’s nothing major or anything, but the lost loves finding one another was precious and just sweet. I adore Sarene and Raoden as characters. Talk about a power couple. Both strong, courageous, and didn’t take a thing laying down. One of the best character arcs was for Hrathen. He went from someone I hated, to someone I understood and appreciated as a POV in Elantris. All three of these characters had points-of-view and it really gave angles to all sides of Arelon and Elantris.

I loved the magic system and the way the world worked in general. I thought it was interesting how heavily the world’s religions played into the characters and the nation itself. It was a solid combination of all of these that kept up the intrigue and mystery.

I hope one day we do get a sequel because there’s clearly plenty more story lines that Sanderson could pursue. This one ends without any cliffhangers and with a great close out that doesn’t leave you hanging.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: poison, sickness, physical, demons, swords; not overly gory

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Book Review

Book Review: Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Epic fantasy
Length: 1,248 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: November 14th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Times bestselling Stormlight Archive, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as great as their thirst for vengeance.

Dalinar Kholin’s Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost: The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction, and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that the newly kindled anger of the parshmen may be wholly justified.

Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the wonders of the ancient stronghold of the Knights Radiant and unearths dark secrets lurking in its depths. And Dalinar realizes that his holy mission to unite his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put aside Dalinar’s blood-soaked past and stand together–and unless Dalinar himself can confront that past–even the restoration of the Knights Radiant will not prevent the end of civilization.

STUNNING.

Yet again. I’m sitting here wondering how I read 1,200+ pages and never felt bored. THAT is the wondering world of Brandon Sanderson and his ability to create these magnificent tales where I don’t even care how big the book is, I’m picking it up stat.

But also, how do you even put into words a review for a book so long? Just know, I really do love these and hope if you’ve been considering reading them you will. Take a chance on the big books! The audio book is the best too. I love the narration, the voices, the fact I can easily listen at a faster speed. All good things.

Some of my favorite pieces in Sanderson books are the later stages when bombs start being dropped. When the world literally gets turned upside down and you aren’t sure what you read is making any sense because it’s completely changed the entire book. Oh how I love these moments. It’s hard to even guess what they will be so enjoy the ride and know you’ll never know who dies, who lives and if the world will actually survive.

The massive world built with intense magic systems that are intricate yet you can understand everything. I feel apart of the political landscape, the characters lives and the fate of the world.

I could talk forever about all of these characters. How I love them so. All of them have strengths, weaknesses, great moments, and moments where you want to shake them. I love how human they really are. There’s emotion and turmoil that leads their decisions and connections. Nothing is laid out in black and white. In this installment I got to see Dalinar’s background and at last got all the answers and more. I love that each book is dedicated to an in-depth look at a character. I’m curious who book four will be about!

Overall audience notes:

  • Epic/high fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: battles, swords, magic; intense and violent

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Book Review

Book Review: Age of Legend (The Legends of the First Empire #4) by Michael J. Sullivan

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Epic fantasy
Length: 480 pages
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Publisher: Grim Oak Press
Release Date: July 9th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Each culture has its own myths and legends, but only one is shared, and it is feared by all.

With Age of Myth, Age of Swords, and Age of War, fantasy master Michael J. Sullivan riveted readers with a tale of unlikely heroes locked in a desperate battle to save mankind. After years of warfare, humanity has gained the upper hand and has pushed the Fhrey to the edge of their homeland, but no farther. Now comes the pivotal moment. Persephone’s plan to use the stalemate to seek peace is destroyed by an unexpected betrayal that threatens to hand victory to the Fhrey and leaves a dear friend in peril. Her only hope lies in the legend of a witch, a forgotten song, and a simple garden door.

TOOK A NEW DIRECTION.

This book is prefaced with Sullivan addressing how he changed up the timeline a bit in this story. A few chapters were immediately after the last book, then the next small section was a year later, then 3/4 of the book was SIX years later. I understand the need for progression, but why? This was the main issue I had with everything. I missed out on relationships, friendships and children (?!) that happened during this time. WHAT. I’m still sad I didn’t get to experience any of that with my favs. Changing up the timeline caused the book to be slower and took longer for the action to come in.

The politics and dynamics of this book have shifted as well. Nyphron is stuck in a never ending battle he refused to yield. While the other side pulls some trickery that has me wanting to beat down their door to take care of them myself.

Focusing on other characters in this book was new too. Most of the secondary (but much closer to first than in most books) really became the top main characters and point-of-views in this installment. I did like getting to know them better and seeing the strengths and flaws they possess. But don’t even get me started on the one scene with two of my favorites from the first three books because I will tear up all over again. IF YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW.

I felt there was a lot more evil drifting around. I have my eyes on so many people questioning motives, decisions, and partnerships. I think this second half of this series has the potential to go the distance, I’m just still iffy on it. Definitely will read the next book though, don’t worry!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: very little light language
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: skirmishes, battles, arrows, murder, beheading, kidnapping

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Book Review

Book Review: The Wiseman’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicles #2) by Patrick Rothfuss

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Epic fantasy
Length: 994 pages
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Publisher: DAW Books
Release Date: March 1st, 2011
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.

So begins the tale of a hero told from his own point of view — a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man’s Fear, an escalating rivalry with a powerful member of the nobility forces Kvothe to leave the University and seek his fortune abroad. Adrift, penniless, and alone, he travels to Vintas, where he quickly becomes entangled in the politics of courtly society. While attempting to curry favor with a powerful noble, Kvothe uncovers an assassination attempt, comes into conflict with a rival arcanist, and leads a group of mercenaries into the wild, in an attempt to solve the mystery of who (or what) is waylaying travelers on the King’s Road.

All the while, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, is forced to reclaim the honor of the Edema Ruh, and travels into the Fae realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived … until Kvothe.

In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.

THIS WAS A LOT OF BOOK.

This was my second 1,000 page book in August 2019 and whoa, I thought I might not make it. I found that with this style of writing if I commit myself to about 100 pages/day I’m a lot more interested. It’s a lot to read, and a lot happening, and it really was nice to put this down, read something lighter and come back to it. I think it allowed me to really immerse myself in reading it and taking a slower pace.

I absolutely love Kvothe and only want happiness for his poor, tortured soul. Though with the interludes during the present, I’m not sure if that will ever happen. I love the interludes and find that it adds more intrigue to the mythical-ness of the story. Kvothe has to deal with so much on a daily basis and is able to take it all in stride. I find that his ability to be pretty much great at whatever he does not as in your face as it sounds.

Denna. Denna. Denna. I’m honestly not sure where I stand with her. I know she and Kvothe are both young, so I attribute a lot of her actions and choices to that fact (and her unknown history). Sometimes she annoyed me at such an intense level that I wanted to put the book down, other times, I wanted her and Kvothe to speak to each other much more plainly. Really lay it all out there. There’s an interesting relationship brewing between the two of them that I will have to wait to decide my full opinion on.

They’re a million + 1 characters in this book that I could spend forever discussing. I really don’t have anyone that sticks out as someone I can’t stand so I loved moving from location to location getting to know everyone on an even deeper level. Speaking of location change: they’re multiple in this book! YAYAY. Love a good adventure. It was definitely needed to spice up the book. I was bored of hanging around the University.

The 4 star comes in because this book is just too long. When I compare it to other very very long novels, every page really means something or stood out to me. I thought that some pieces of this book could truly be shortened and it still would be a great read. Way super, over the top curious where the last book will take us. Especially after this crazy long wait.

Overall audience notes:

  • High fantasy
  • Language: a little throughout
  • Romance: kisses, a good handful of light detailed love scenes, nothing explicit (from some phrases you can tell the implications)
  • Violence: magic, swords, poison, knives, explosions, fires, voodoo, physical
  • Trigger warnings: physical abuse, mentions of rape (off-screen)

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