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: Green Rider (Green Rider #1) by Kristen Britain

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 471 pages
Author: Kristen Britain
Publisher: DAW Books
Release Date: November 1st, 1998
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

On her long journey home from school after a fight which will surely lead to her expulsion, Karigan G’ladheon ponders her future as she trudges through the immense forest called Green Cloak. But her thoughts are interrupted by the clattering of hooves as a galloping horse bursts from the woods, the rider slumped over his mount’s neck, impaled by two black-shafted arrows. As the young man lies dying on the road, he tells Karigan that he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary messengers of the king, and that he bears a “life and death” message for King Zachary. He begs Karigan to carry his message, warning her not to read it, and when she reluctantly agrees, he makes her swear on his sword to complete his mission “for love of country.” As he bestows upon her the golden winged-horse brooch which is the symbol of his office, he whispers on his dying breath, “Beware the shadow man…”

Karigan’s promise changes her life forever. Pursued by unknown assassins, following a path only her horse seems to know, and accompanied by the silent specter of the original messenger, she herself becomes a legendary Green Rider. Caught up in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand, Karigan is hounded by dark beings bent on seeing that the message, and its reluctant carrier, never reach their destination.

FOUND A NEW FANTASY SERIES TO READ.

Thanks to a library book sale I picked up the first three books in this series on a total whim of, I’ve heard of this before. And that’s it. All I knew was that it was a fantasy book with pretty good reviews.

I surprised myself by really enjoying it by the end. The first half was a bit slow. I know this is a long series so I understand needing to build-up and create a world. It just took longer than expected. Karigan was spending most of her time on the run and I was missing the bigger plot.

Once Karigan made it to her destination things escalated quickly. I love the devious nature of it all and that I didn’t even catch who the bad guy actually was! The magic system and politics of this world created some intense dynamics. The clashing of the brothers for wanting to be King, a fae trying to create a ghost army and Karigan just wanting to go home.

I love Karigan. I think she has some growing up to do (which is fine) but she was a spunky character I adored. I found her brave and bold and loyal to her family and who she was. I imagine a lot of great character growth for her in the coming books.

The only thing I felt it was missing was a bit of romance. There’s a tiny bit of maybe if I squint my eyes at the page something happening between her and a character, BUT I DON’T KNOW. I’m always looking for even a little romance so this should be no surprise that I wanted a bit more.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: sword fights, poison, animal/creature attacks, murder
  • Trigger warnings: attempted sexual assault, page 265: mention of an off screen rape (that a side character committed)

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Book Review

Book Review: Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Epic Fantasy
Length: 1087 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: March 4th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance, Book Two of the Stormlight Archive, continues the immersive fantasy epic that The Way of Kings began.

Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status “darkeyes.” Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.

The Assassin, Szeth, is active again, murdering rulers all over the world of Roshar, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Among his prime targets is Highprince Dalinar, widely considered the power behind the Alethi throne. His leading role in the war would seem reason enough, but the Assassin’s master has much deeper motives.

Brilliant but troubled Shallan strives along a parallel path. Despite being broken in ways she refuses to acknowledge, she bears a terrible burden: to somehow prevent the return of the legendary Voidbringers and the civilization-ending Desolation that will follow. The secrets she needs can be found at the Shattered Plains, but just arriving there proves more difficult than she could have imagined.

Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on a desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The possible consequences for Parshendi and humans alike, indeed, for Roshar itself, are as dangerous as they are incalculable.

I LOVE THIS SERIES.

This is one of those books where yes, 1087 pages is a lot, but 1087 is necessary to make this book the amazing story it is. Every dang page, every dang word, is WORTH IT. I read this slowly over a month taking my time to savor the story. There is so much here and everything is woven together intricately to create the Cosmere.

It’s hard for me to put into words a review because SO MUCH HAPPENED. And also it’s one of those trust me and read this if you love fantasy books type of situations. It’s better not having all the details. These characters will swarm your heart leaving you with no option other than to love them (and hate a few, but they meet some good endings).

Kaladin is my cinnamon roll that I CAN NOT HANDLE. This guy has been through hell and back and watching his transformation just from book one to book two is fantastic. I’m praying he survives all 10 books because I need him too.

The Kholin family is also getting some top marks. Dalinar, Adolin, Jasnah, Renarin. They are allllll stunners. I love how there is a wide expanse of age groups here and each character holds their own space in the story. Nobody is wasted by being thrown in casually.

Also, Shallan guys. In Way of Kings, we got flashbacks of Kaladin’s life. In Words of Radiance, we got Shallan’s backstory. If it’s a theme to have a character backstory woven into each book, then I AM HERE FOR IT. I loved getting to know her more and really started to appreciate her as a character.

THIS WORLD BUILDING IS INSANE. I can’t say that enough. I’ve heard it takes him years to write these books and I wouldn’t doubt that for a second. I can only imagine the thought and process it takes to make this elaborate of a world.

If you love fantasy books and want to take a chance on reading something big, try these. Trust me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Epic fantasy
  • Language: ass used once
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: war, battle, swords, assassination attempts, magic, elemental magic, storms

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