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Mashiara Sedai

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  1. JordanCon is only a few weeks away. The convention, dedicated to Robert Jordan and The Wheel of Time series, takes place April 20th through the 22nd in Atlanta, Georgia. There are many new guest authors who will be visiting the convention for the very first time. I wanted to introduce a few of them before we get to see them in person. Today’s author is Tom Fallwell, an indie sci-fi/fantasy writer who gets his inspiration from decades of playing Dungeons and Dragons. Q: Welcome, Tom. Can you elaborate on how roleplaying games fueled your love of storytelling? Hello and thanks. Yes, as a Dungeon Master playing D&D, I spent many hours creating adventures to take the players through. Early on, I learned that all I really needed was a basic plot, and the rest would be inspired according to how the players reacted to my descriptions and surprises. So, I learned to adlib to make the game more exciting. I loved being a DM for the players. That ability is the essential part of how I write. I come up with a general idea or plot, then start writing, and it is how the story develops that inspires me. For instance, when I wrote A Whisper in the Shadows, the first book in my Rangers of Laerean trilogy, I was not anticipating the story to continue. Yet, when I wrote the ending for that book, I realized I was not finished, and over the course of the next two books, an entire mythos for the world I had created, Hir, evolved. Q: For influences in your writing you’ve listed several amazing authors, such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov. But who would you consider your favorite contemporary sci-fi/fantasy author? Well, I’ve read so many that I truly enjoyed, but my reading for the past few years has been almost exclusively Indie Authors. In fact, I just finished reading a story by another guest coming to the con, Aaron-Michael Hall, and her new book, Kurintor Nyusi, has blown me away. I would have to say, as of right now, she is my favorite author. She is extremely talented and inspires me in many ways. There are so many authors, past and present, to love though. It is always difficult to choose one to be a favorite, at least, long term. Q: Your trilogy—Rangers of Laerean—is set in the world of Hir, where a cataclysmic event caused the near destruction of the inhabitants. How does this detailed history help shape the modern world and the role your characters take in defending the people? Interesting question. I did sit down and create the world and a bit of history, before I ever started writing a story. I wanted a world with a rich history and lore, as it furnished me with inspiration for what I’m writing. You see, I’m almost a total panster. I do some plotting and planning, but very little, and I usually begin writing with nothing more than an opening scene in my head. I believe the character come so alive in my imagination, that they tell me the story to write. Having a world full of history and fantastic lore provides the fuel for my imagination to help bring the characters alive on the pages, as well as in my head. Why the Rangers? Simply because my first love in fantasy is heroic-fantasy. The Rangers was inspired by my love of heroes, even tragic and not so goody ones. Heroes like Conan, Elric of Melniboné, Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, Paul Muad’Dib from Dune, and on and on. Heroes that suffered much, yet never gave up. That is what Baric, in the Rangers of Laerean, is to me. A steadfast hero. Q: Can you share any details about your current writing project? I’m currently working on two projects, and I’m hoping one will be coming out very soon. I’ve been co-authoring a story with Aaron-Michael Hall, entitled Tamesa. It’s a bit of a love story in a world that has been torn apart by men’s greed and lust for power. The world is different, as it could be described as a continent resting in a sea of vapors called the Mists of Entropy, which play a vital role in the story. Tamesa has never seen ships or seas. But the continent has been split in two by a fearsome disaster in the past, divided into the western kingdom of Mogaryn, ruled by the tyrant, and the eastern kingdom of Dahomey, ruled by a more benevolent ruler. The main characters are opposites, it would seem at first. Tinshu is a young man struggling to live in Mogaryn, forced to steal and sometimes even kill just to survive. A’rehn, the woman he falls in love with, is from the other side of the great abysm that separates their worlds, and to him, her world is a paradise. She is well-educated and raised in a loving family, though it is far more complex that just that. The story involves them finding each other, and how they are destined to be involved in the one thing that can save their world from the evil in the west. I’m also writing a science-fiction novel (my first) entitled Heart of the Valkyrie. The Valkyrie is an ancient spaceship that has biological components, and the crew are the main stars, one of which is a teenage girl with powerful psychic abilities. They find themselves on the run from a ruthless Empire in a desperate race to find the lost planet of mankind’s origins, Earth. I guess you would say it is a space opera, and it will be out later this year. I do have other sci-fi stories in mind as well, for the future. I’ve always loved fantasy and science-fiction, and everything in between. Q: Are there aspects of writing you enjoy more than others? Dialogue over description? Characters over setting? Characters. I’d have to say characters. I think any truly good story requires characters that the readers can identify with, get emotionally involved with, and care about. I call characters the essentia of a good novel. Without characters, it’s just another scenic landscape. Characters are what makes a story evolve and grow into a tale the reader will remember. To that end, dialogue is very important, and it must feel real. Not cliched or filled with tropes. I don’t want my character’s dialogue to sound like the old soap operas on TV. I want them to feel real. Q: As an indie writer, what challenges do you face when publishing your works? What do you find easy or appealing about this avenue? As for the challenge, it is getting noticed. If you don’t have tons of cash laying around to spend on high quality advertising, like in magazines, or even radio and TV, then it’s very difficult. That is why I decided I need to go to JordanCon, and I’m very much hoping I get to meet a lot of readers. What is easy and appealing about Indie Publishing, for me, is I don’t have to please some agent or publisher and compete with the thousands of manuscripts they likely see all the time. There are expenses, to be sure; cover art, editing, and so on. But when it comes to putting it out there, that part is easy. The thing is, whether my books are sold or not, I am still enjoying writing them, and if not read today, someone will read them the next day, or the next. I am completely happy being able to share them with others. Of course, becoming a best seller certainly would not be something I’d turn down, but until and when that happens, if ever, I’m having a lot of fun writing my stories. Q: This is your first JordanCon. What are you looking forward to about this convention? Meeting people. Readers, artists, organizers, you name it. I’m very excited and looking forward to a lot of fun and some great conversations. Being able to talk to people who might be reading my books, hearing from those that have read them, and meeting new and interesting people. Q: Are you able to give us a sneak peak to which panels you’ll be on? I will be on one about Great Fight Scenes (I do love writing fight scenes), and one about Urban Fantasy. I haven’t yet written an urban story, though I do have some I’ve made a lot of notes on. I have many story ideas, so don’t plan to run out of ideas for a long time yet. Q: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you or your works? Well, I guess I would like them to know how much I’ve loved writing them. Being an ex-programmer, I can be a bit picky about things, so I really put a lot of effort into making my stories something readers can enjoy. I don’t try to write a lot and hope some are good. I try to make every book I write as good a story as it can be. I care about what I write. Q: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us! I’m looking forward to seeing you in just a few weeks! Thank you, and the same goes for me. See you all at the con! You can find out more about Tom on his website, or other social media outlets like, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. View full news item
  2. JordanCon is only a few weeks away. The convention, dedicated to Robert Jordan and The Wheel of Time series, takes place April 20th through the 22nd in Atlanta, Georgia. There are many new guest authors who will be visiting the convention for the very first time. I wanted to introduce a few of them before we get to see them in person. Today’s author is Tom Fallwell, an indie sci-fi/fantasy writer who gets his inspiration from decades of playing Dungeons and Dragons. Q: Welcome, Tom. Can you elaborate on how roleplaying games fueled your love of storytelling? Hello and thanks. Yes, as a Dungeon Master playing D&D, I spent many hours creating adventures to take the players through. Early on, I learned that all I really needed was a basic plot, and the rest would be inspired according to how the players reacted to my descriptions and surprises. So, I learned to adlib to make the game more exciting. I loved being a DM for the players. That ability is the essential part of how I write. I come up with a general idea or plot, then start writing, and it is how the story develops that inspires me. For instance, when I wrote A Whisper in the Shadows, the first book in my Rangers of Laerean trilogy, I was not anticipating the story to continue. Yet, when I wrote the ending for that book, I realized I was not finished, and over the course of the next two books, an entire mythos for the world I had created, Hir, evolved. Q: For influences in your writing you’ve listed several amazing authors, such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov. But who would you consider your favorite contemporary sci-fi/fantasy author? Well, I’ve read so many that I truly enjoyed, but my reading for the past few years has been almost exclusively Indie Authors. In fact, I just finished reading a story by another guest coming to the con, Aaron-Michael Hall, and her new book, Kurintor Nyusi, has blown me away. I would have to say, as of right now, she is my favorite author. She is extremely talented and inspires me in many ways. There are so many authors, past and present, to love though. It is always difficult to choose one to be a favorite, at least, long term. Q: Your trilogy—Rangers of Laerean—is set in the world of Hir, where a cataclysmic event caused the near destruction of the inhabitants. How does this detailed history help shape the modern world and the role your characters take in defending the people? Interesting question. I did sit down and create the world and a bit of history, before I ever started writing a story. I wanted a world with a rich history and lore, as it furnished me with inspiration for what I’m writing. You see, I’m almost a total panster. I do some plotting and planning, but very little, and I usually begin writing with nothing more than an opening scene in my head. I believe the character come so alive in my imagination, that they tell me the story to write. Having a world full of history and fantastic lore provides the fuel for my imagination to help bring the characters alive on the pages, as well as in my head. Why the Rangers? Simply because my first love in fantasy is heroic-fantasy. The Rangers was inspired by my love of heroes, even tragic and not so goody ones. Heroes like Conan, Elric of Melniboné, Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, Paul Muad’Dib from Dune, and on and on. Heroes that suffered much, yet never gave up. That is what Baric, in the Rangers of Laerean, is to me. A steadfast hero. Q: Can you share any details about your current writing project? I’m currently working on two projects, and I’m hoping one will be coming out very soon. I’ve been co-authoring a story with Aaron-Michael Hall, entitled Tamesa. It’s a bit of a love story in a world that has been torn apart by men’s greed and lust for power. The world is different, as it could be described as a continent resting in a sea of vapors called the Mists of Entropy, which play a vital role in the story. Tamesa has never seen ships or seas. But the continent has been split in two by a fearsome disaster in the past, divided into the western kingdom of Mogaryn, ruled by the tyrant, and the eastern kingdom of Dahomey, ruled by a more benevolent ruler. The main characters are opposites, it would seem at first. Tinshu is a young man struggling to live in Mogaryn, forced to steal and sometimes even kill just to survive. A’rehn, the woman he falls in love with, is from the other side of the great abysm that separates their worlds, and to him, her world is a paradise. She is well-educated and raised in a loving family, though it is far more complex that just that. The story involves them finding each other, and how they are destined to be involved in the one thing that can save their world from the evil in the west. I’m also writing a science-fiction novel (my first) entitled Heart of the Valkyrie. The Valkyrie is an ancient spaceship that has biological components, and the crew are the main stars, one of which is a teenage girl with powerful psychic abilities. They find themselves on the run from a ruthless Empire in a desperate race to find the lost planet of mankind’s origins, Earth. I guess you would say it is a space opera, and it will be out later this year. I do have other sci-fi stories in mind as well, for the future. I’ve always loved fantasy and science-fiction, and everything in between. Q: Are there aspects of writing you enjoy more than others? Dialogue over description? Characters over setting? Characters. I’d have to say characters. I think any truly good story requires characters that the readers can identify with, get emotionally involved with, and care about. I call characters the essentia of a good novel. Without characters, it’s just another scenic landscape. Characters are what makes a story evolve and grow into a tale the reader will remember. To that end, dialogue is very important, and it must feel real. Not cliched or filled with tropes. I don’t want my character’s dialogue to sound like the old soap operas on TV. I want them to feel real. Q: As an indie writer, what challenges do you face when publishing your works? What do you find easy or appealing about this avenue? As for the challenge, it is getting noticed. If you don’t have tons of cash laying around to spend on high quality advertising, like in magazines, or even radio and TV, then it’s very difficult. That is why I decided I need to go to JordanCon, and I’m very much hoping I get to meet a lot of readers. What is easy and appealing about Indie Publishing, for me, is I don’t have to please some agent or publisher and compete with the thousands of manuscripts they likely see all the time. There are expenses, to be sure; cover art, editing, and so on. But when it comes to putting it out there, that part is easy. The thing is, whether my books are sold or not, I am still enjoying writing them, and if not read today, someone will read them the next day, or the next. I am completely happy being able to share them with others. Of course, becoming a best seller certainly would not be something I’d turn down, but until and when that happens, if ever, I’m having a lot of fun writing my stories. Q: This is your first JordanCon. What are you looking forward to about this convention? Meeting people. Readers, artists, organizers, you name it. I’m very excited and looking forward to a lot of fun and some great conversations. Being able to talk to people who might be reading my books, hearing from those that have read them, and meeting new and interesting people. Q: Are you able to give us a sneak peak to which panels you’ll be on? I will be on one about Great Fight Scenes (I do love writing fight scenes), and one about Urban Fantasy. I haven’t yet written an urban story, though I do have some I’ve made a lot of notes on. I have many story ideas, so don’t plan to run out of ideas for a long time yet. Q: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you or your works? Well, I guess I would like them to know how much I’ve loved writing them. Being an ex-programmer, I can be a bit picky about things, so I really put a lot of effort into making my stories something readers can enjoy. I don’t try to write a lot and hope some are good. I try to make every book I write as good a story as it can be. I care about what I write. Q: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us! I’m looking forward to seeing you in just a few weeks! Thank you, and the same goes for me. See you all at the con! You can find out more about Tom on his website, or other social media outlets like, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
  3. Today, Tor.com released a very detailed analysis of the Old Tongue--the ancient language used during the Age of Legends. Written by Richard Littauer, who is a linguist, this article sheds some light on how Robert Jordan did follow some rules of languages and when he made them up. This was a very interesting read. Looking at the Old Tongue from an academic and historical perspective was enlightening. Though I had heard several instances of inconsistencies in the dynamics of the Old Tongue, Littauer does a great job of explaining why these phrases can't be constructed into one, cohesive language. And though Littauer concludes that Jordan was only an amateur linguist, he still sings Jordan's praises: The fact that people are still delving so deeply into The Wheel of Time amazes me. After all these years, there's still so much left to explore and ponder.
  4. Today, Tor.com released a very detailed analysis of the Old Tongue--the ancient language used during the Age of Legends. Written by Richard Littauer, who is a linguist, this article sheds some light on how Robert Jordan did follow some rules of languages and when he made them up. This was a very interesting read. Looking at the Old Tongue from an academic and historical perspective was enlightening. Though I had heard several instances of inconsistencies in the dynamics of the Old Tongue, Littauer does a great job of explaining why these phrases can't be constructed into one, cohesive language. And though Littauer concludes that Jordan was only an amateur linguist, he still sings Jordan's praises: The fact that people are still delving so deeply into The Wheel of Time amazes me. After all these years, there's still so much left to explore and ponder. View full news item
  5. Welcome back to another “Fantasy Review.” This edition is for J. Scott Coatsworth’s Skythane, the first in the Oberon Cycle trilogy. Slight spoilers follow. Synopsis: The planet of Oberon is missing half its mass. Some scientists speculate the other side is filled with dark matter—balancing the inhabited hemisphere and making it stable. Most citizens of Oberon don’t even think about it. For them, life continues like normal. The rich live in splendor while the poor are forced to scavenge in the Slander. Xander began his life in the Slander. Orphaned at an early age, Xander grew up on the streets—abused, neglected, and forgotten. Also against him is his heritage. He is a skythane—a race similar to humans, but with wings and the capacity of flight. The human settlers of Oberon forced the semi-native skythane out of their homes and off their land. Miraculously rescued off the streets, Xander is given a second chance at life, and a very important mission. When the planet’s main export—a drug called pith—suddenly dries up, Jameson is sent to investigate. When he lands in Oberon City, he’s suddenly wisked away by Xander, and thrown headfirst into a situation that may kill them both. Xander’s companion Quince tells Jameson that they need to save Oberon, and Titania—the other half of the planet only accessible by gateway. And, of course, he and Xander are the key. Pros: This story is an excellent blend of sci-fi and fantasy. Oberon City is full of technology, hovercars, computer chips installed in a person’s brain. The first half of the novel takes place on Oberon, where technology has a relevant role in daily life. The city is run by two rival powers—the OberCorp in charge of mining the pith, and the Syndicate, in charge of the Slander. Xander and Jameson get stuck in the middle of both the powers as they struggle to get to Titania. Then, when in Titania, the fantasy comes through. Though some technology from Oberon filters through the gateways, Titania is a lot simpler in its culture. It’s ruled completely by the skythane—though by two rival houses, Gaelani and Erriani. The skythane depend on their ancient gods to oversee and protect them. Magical creatures inhabit this world—some friends and some foes. The rich histories of both of the worlds adds a lot of depth to this novel. The characters are well developed, with clear goals and ambitions. Xander and Jameson start off antagonistic to one another, and you can see the shift in their thinking as they grow closer. I loved the romance between them. They balance each other and fit as a couple. The skythane people intrigue me. There are several scenes when they fly and Coatsworth does a great job of conveying the feeling of exhilaration. When Jameson learns how to fly, and revels in the feeling of being free, it was very touching. Cons: Though I enjoyed the romance between Xander and Jameson, and they do gradually thaw with their cool treatment of one another, I did feel like it was rushed. Their feelings could have grown more organically. Even Quince “helping” them along by slipping them small dosages of pith—which can act as an aphrodisiac—made me cringe. Conclusion: This story is pure entertainment. It has action, adventure, intrigue, suspense, and romance. It was a quick read, fast paced, and with a deeply enthralling landscape. Every now and then, it’s nice to read a novel that’s just for fun. Rating: 4 out of 5 To find out more about J. Scott Coastworth and his other novels, you can visit his website. View full news item
  6. Welcome back to another “Fantasy Review.” This edition is for J. Scott Coatsworth’s Skythane, the first in the Oberon Cycle trilogy. Slight spoilers follow. Synopsis: The planet of Oberon is missing half its mass. Some scientists speculate the other side is filled with dark matter—balancing the inhabited hemisphere and making it stable. Most citizens of Oberon don’t even think about it. For them, life continues like normal. The rich live in splendor while the poor are forced to scavenge in the Slander. Xander began his life in the Slander. Orphaned at an early age, Xander grew up on the streets—abused, neglected, and forgotten. Also against him is his heritage. He is a skythane—a race similar to humans, but with wings and the capacity of flight. The human settlers of Oberon forced the semi-native skythane out of their homes and off their land. Miraculously rescued off the streets, Xander is given a second chance at life, and a very important mission. When the planet’s main export—a drug called pith—suddenly dries up, Jameson is sent to investigate. When he lands in Oberon City, he’s suddenly wisked away by Xander, and thrown headfirst into a situation that may kill them both. Xander’s companion Quince tells Jameson that they need to save Oberon, and Titania—the other half of the planet only accessible by gateway. And, of course, he and Xander are the key. Pros: This story is an excellent blend of sci-fi and fantasy. Oberon City is full of technology, hovercars, computer chips installed in a person’s brain. The first half of the novel takes place on Oberon, where technology has a relevant role in daily life. The city is run by two rival powers—the OberCorp in charge of mining the pith, and the Syndicate, in charge of the Slander. Xander and Jameson get stuck in the middle of both the powers as they struggle to get to Titania. Then, when in Titania, the fantasy comes through. Though some technology from Oberon filters through the gateways, Titania is a lot simpler in its culture. It’s ruled completely by the skythane—though by two rival houses, Gaelani and Erriani. The skythane depend on their ancient gods to oversee and protect them. Magical creatures inhabit this world—some friends and some foes. The rich histories of both of the worlds adds a lot of depth to this novel. The characters are well developed, with clear goals and ambitions. Xander and Jameson start off antagonistic to one another, and you can see the shift in their thinking as they grow closer. I loved the romance between them. They balance each other and fit as a couple. The skythane people intrigue me. There are several scenes when they fly and Coatsworth does a great job of conveying the feeling of exhilaration. When Jameson learns how to fly, and revels in the feeling of being free, it was very touching. Cons: Though I enjoyed the romance between Xander and Jameson, and they do gradually thaw with their cool treatment of one another, I did feel like it was rushed. Their feelings could have grown more organically. Even Quince “helping” them along by slipping them small dosages of pith—which can act as an aphrodisiac—made me cringe. Conclusion: This story is pure entertainment. It has action, adventure, intrigue, suspense, and romance. It was a quick read, fast paced, and with a deeply enthralling landscape. Every now and then, it’s nice to read a novel that’s just for fun. Rating: 4 out of 5 To find out more about J. Scott Coastworth and his other novels, you can visit his website.
  7. This edition of “Fantasy Review” is for Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer, the third part of The Stormlight Archive series. For a quick refresher of what’s happened in the previous two books, you can read a synopsis of the story so far from Tor.com. Some spoilers follow. Synopsis: After battling against the Parshendi and their new storm, Dalinar Kholin and his Alethi troops take shelter in the city of Urithiru—the ancient home of the Knights Radiant. They set up a base there to try and regroup as the Everstorm rages around the entire world. Reports show that when the Everstorm hits a location, all the Parshmen change into warform and flee. Besides the few groups of Parshmen that hurt or kill on their way out of the cities, this also leaves the nations without a working class. As life settles in Urithiru, Dalinar and his Kights—Kaladin, Shallan, and Renarin—attempt to make peace with the other nations, and beg to use the Oathgates, which would transport people and supplies across the world instantly. Very few monarchs take the bait, assuming it is a trap by the Alethi to conquer their lands. Meanwhile, Alethkar suddenly goes silent. No news comes from the city, or from Elhokar’s queen and child who still live there. Elhokar convinces Dalinar to allow him to sneak into the city with some of the Radiants and try to take it back by opening the Oathgate. In Alethkar, though, there are more than just Voidbringers and Fused. There are also some of the Unmade, ancient spren who are splinters of Odium. When Elhokar’s team runs into these creatures, it seems their mission is doomed. The group (plus or minus a few of their numbers) is transported to Shadesmar—the realm of spren—and unable to return to their own land. Pros: This world is so rich. The characters are amazingly diverse. The storytelling done here is among the best I have ever read. Brandon weaves a world that is so tangible, so fleshed out. His characters act like people, doing things that make sense to them. Each is unique, with their own cares and concerns. That’s tricky to do when you have hundreds of characters! For this part of the story, I loved Adolin the most. He’s really grown since being introduced as a shallow playboy. I was actually concerned for him at the end of Words of Radiance. When he killed Sadias, I thought Adolin would slowly go mad from the guilt. Plus, he’s got a fiancé who’s a Knight Radiant, a father who is a Knight Radiant, and a brother who is a Knight Radiant. I anticipated he’d eventually succumb to jealousy. I was so wrong, and so glad I was so wrong! Adolin is a caring, hardworking, slightly vain person who only has the good of the Alethi people in his mind. I can’t get over how much I came to care for him during this book. Also, during book two, there was a hint of something between Shallan and Kaladin. I didn’t mind the idea, as Shallan and Adolin hadn’t really formed a deep bond yet. However, in Oathbringer, when there are hints of a love triangle, I never once wanted Shallan to side with Kaladin. Adolin is too good a match for Shallan. They are very well suited. And his handling of her increased shifts between personalities shows he cares for her, no matter her current form. Near the end, there was a sort of Star Wars moment (similar to when Han tells Leia he’ll stay out of her and Luke’s way in Return of the Jedi). Like Leia, Shallan sets Adolin straight, letting him know she loved him and that her other personalities can’t dictate her decisions. Another piece I loved about this installment was Dalinar’s flashbacks. We finally got to see his wife, Evi, and what happened to cause him to lose his memories. I cried several times near the conclusion of the book, when Dalinar thinks of his lost wife, and the pain that returns with all his memories. It was heartbreaking. But, Dalinar is such an amazing character. He’s strong. He’s unyielding. He won’t break under any amount of pressure. I was also surprised how much I came to like Dalinar during this book. I felt Shallan and Kaladin were more central to the first two novels, but Dalinar really shone in this one. I think of him as the main character, the hero of the story, much more than Kaladin. Cons: This story is huge. Almost intimidatingly big. There’s a ton of information and side plots, and considering the first two novels had just as much information and side plots… there’s a lot to keep track of. While I enjoyed all of these stories so far, I can’t reread them before each release. They don’t enthrall me the way Wheel of Time did. So remembering what happened to one minor character in the first book and piecing it together with what’s happening in the third book is rather difficult. The online synopsis was very helpful with refreshing my memory, but it doesn't even come close to listing all the minor plot lines that weave through this story. Conclusion: This tale is a great addition to the whole of the series. It was the book I enjoyed most out of the three. I loved the way the characters’ lives developed (particularly Adolin and Shallan) and how they all fought together in the final battle in the novel. When Dalinar stood before Odium with his assembled Knights, my heart rate sped up. It was a powerful moment. Rating: 5 out of 5 You can purchase a copy of Oathbringer from Dragonmount's DRM-free ebook store. View full news item
  8. This edition of “Fantasy Review” is for Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer, the third part of The Stormlight Archive series. For a quick refresher of what’s happened in the previous two books, you can read a synopsis of the story so far from Tor.com. Some spoilers follow. Synopsis: After battling against the Parshendi and their new storm, Dalinar Kholin and his Alethi troops take shelter in the city of Urithiru—the ancient home of the Knights Radiant. They set up a base there to try and regroup as the Everstorm rages around the entire world. Reports show that when the Everstorm hits a location, all the Parshmen change into warform and flee. Besides the few groups of Parshmen that hurt or kill on their way out of the cities, this also leaves the nations without a working class. As life settles in Urithiru, Dalinar and his Kights—Kaladin, Shallan, and Renarin—attempt to make peace with the other nations, and beg to use the Oathgates, which would transport people and supplies across the world instantly. Very few monarchs take the bait, assuming it is a trap by the Alethi to conquer their lands. Meanwhile, Alethkar suddenly goes silent. No news comes from the city, or from Elhokar’s queen and child who still live there. Elhokar convinces Dalinar to allow him to sneak into the city with some of the Radiants and try to take it back by opening the Oathgate. In Alethkar, though, there are more than just Voidbringers and Fused. There are also some of the Unmade, ancient spren who are splinters of Odium. When Elhokar’s team runs into these creatures, it seems their mission is doomed. The group (plus or minus a few of their numbers) is transported to Shadesmar—the realm of spren—and unable to return to their own land. Pros: This world is so rich. The characters are amazingly diverse. The storytelling done here is among the best I have ever read. Brandon weaves a world that is so tangible, so fleshed out. His characters act like people, doing things that make sense to them. Each is unique, with their own cares and concerns. That’s tricky to do when you have hundreds of characters! For this part of the story, I loved Adolin the most. He’s really grown since being introduced as a shallow playboy. I was actually concerned for him at the end of Words of Radiance. When he killed Sadias, I thought Adolin would slowly go mad from the guilt. Plus, he’s got a fiancé who’s a Knight Radiant, a father who is a Knight Radiant, and a brother who is a Knight Radiant. I anticipated he’d eventually succumb to jealousy. I was so wrong, and so glad I was so wrong! Adolin is a caring, hardworking, slightly vain person who only has the good of the Alethi people in his mind. I can’t get over how much I came to care for him during this book. Also, during book two, there was a hint of something between Shallan and Kaladin. I didn’t mind the idea, as Shallan and Adolin hadn’t really formed a deep bond yet. However, in Oathbringer, when there are hints of a love triangle, I never once wanted Shallan to side with Kaladin. Adolin is too good a match for Shallan. They are very well suited. And his handling of her increased shifts between personalities shows he cares for her, no matter her current form. Near the end, there was a sort of Star Wars moment (similar to when Han tells Leia he’ll stay out of her and Luke’s way in Return of the Jedi). Like Leia, Shallan sets Adolin straight, letting him know she loved him and that her other personalities can’t dictate her decisions. Another piece I loved about this installment was Dalinar’s flashbacks. We finally got to see his wife, Evi, and what happened to cause him to lose his memories. I cried several times near the conclusion of the book, when Dalinar thinks of his lost wife, and the pain that returns with all his memories. It was heartbreaking. But, Dalinar is such an amazing character. He’s strong. He’s unyielding. He won’t break under any amount of pressure. I was also surprised how much I came to like Dalinar during this book. I felt Shallan and Kaladin were more central to the first two novels, but Dalinar really shone in this one. I think of him as the main character, the hero of the story, much more than Kaladin. Cons: This story is huge. Almost intimidatingly big. There’s a ton of information and side plots, and considering the first two novels had just as much information and side plots… there’s a lot to keep track of. While I enjoyed all of these stories so far, I can’t reread them before each release. They don’t enthrall me the way Wheel of Time did. So remembering what happened to one minor character in the first book and piecing it together with what’s happening in the third book is rather difficult. The online synopsis was very helpful with refreshing my memory, but it doesn't even come close to listing all the minor plot lines that weave through this story. Conclusion: This tale is a great addition to the whole of the series. It was the book I enjoyed most out of the three. I loved the way the characters’ lives developed (particularly Adolin and Shallan) and how they all fought together in the final battle in the novel. When Dalinar stood before Odium with his assembled Knights, my heart rate sped up. It was a powerful moment. Rating: 5 out of 5 You can purchase a copy of Oathbringer from Dragonmount's DRM-free ebook store.
  9. Long time Wheel of Time commentator, Leigh Butler, has released her top five scenes within the series. With a rekindled reading of The Wheel of Time currently underway at Tor.com, Leigh seems eager to get back on her soap box and sing the praises of this wonderful collection of books. Warning! Spoilers follow! In her full article, Leigh argues why each one is especially significant to the plot, the characters, and the entertainment of the readers. Do you agree or disagree with Leigh's picks? One of my personal favorites is when Mat finds out Tuon is really the Daughter of the Nine Moons (which didn't even make the list of honorable mentions). Don't forget to check out Tor.com's Reading the Wheel of Time, which chronicles Kelsey Jefferson Barrett's initial journey into our beloved series. View full news item
  10. Long time Wheel of Time commentator, Leigh Butler, has released her top five scenes within the series. With a rekindled reading of The Wheel of Time currently underway at Tor.com, Leigh seems eager to get back on her soap box and sing the praises of this wonderful collection of books. Warning! Spoilers follow! In her full article, Leigh argues why each one is especially significant to the plot, the characters, and the entertainment of the readers. Do you agree or disagree with Leigh's picks? One of my personal favorites is when Mat finds out Tuon is really the Daughter of the Nine Moons (which didn't even make the list of honorable mentions). Don't forget to check out Tor.com's Reading the Wheel of Time, which chronicles Kelsey Jefferson Barrett's initial journey into our beloved series.
  11. This “Fantasy Review” is for The Stone Sky, the third and final book in The Broken Earth series, by N.K. Jemisin. Synopsis: Essun is still determined to find her daughter, Nessun. The comm of Castrima Under—where Essun currently dwells—has been damaged by their war with Rennaris. The people must find a new place to ride out the Fifth Season. Due to Essun’s annihilation of the Rennarin people, the comm decides to travel the far distance to the now-abandoned city. Essun’s still plans to grab the moon when its orbit circles close, but there is still time before she must leave her place within the com. Nessun, meanwhile, begins her trek to the other side of the world, with Shaffa and the Stone Eater, Steel, as companions. Steel can transport them through the earth, but Nassun fears the Stone Eater may “accidently” lose Shaffa on the journey. This means a longer way is necessary, going to an ancient station capable of taking them through the earth’s core. But at the earth’s center is something far more frightening than Steel’s mode of transportation. Mixed in with these two accounts is a flashback into Hoa’s past, where the events that lead to the war with Father Earth are finally revealed. Pros: I loved the addition of Hoa’s storyline. It was terrible seeing the beginning of orogenes and the atrocities the ancient society did in order to maintain peace and balance. The choices Hoa and his kind made are understandable, and parallel the conflict within Essun and Nassun. Essun wishes to save the earth by grabbing the moon. Nassun, based on Shaffa’s pessimistic—or maybe weary—view of the world, wishes for it, and Father Earth, to die. I was also pleasantly pleased by the actual ending, the last chapter. SPOILER: I thought the perfect match for Essun was Innon and Alabaster; the three of them together made a wonderful family. However, seeing her paired with Hoa was heartwarming. Essun’s life was so horrible and filled with so much tragedy, it was uplifting to see she wound up with a happy ending. Cons: Once we got the reunion between mother and daughter, the character motivations were understandable, but rather annoying. The reader has the benefit of seeing the character’s thoughts, so I was frustrated when the two were unable to communicate their desires to the other. Like I said, understandable considering all that had happened between them, but at the same time, I wanted to shake them both and make them talk it out! Alas, too much had transpired, too much harm had been done—to both of them. Conclusion: This was a fantastic final. Satisfying and rather hopeful for a brighter future. I’d been doubting whether this would have a happy ending or not. And it surprisingly does. Or maybe—to coin a phrase from the romance genre—a Happy For Now. I loved everything about this series, the characters, the world, the magic. It was emotional the whole way through, tugging on my heartstrings over and over and over. I was very sad when it ended. I could read so much more in this world. Perhaps Jemisin will revisit the world a thousand years in the future—like Brandon Sanderson’s ideas for Mistborn. Rating: 4 out of 5 For more from N. K. Jemisin, you can check out her website. View full news item
  12. This “Fantasy Review” is for The Stone Sky, the third and final book in The Broken Earth series, by N.K. Jemisin. Synopsis: Essun is still determined to find her daughter, Nessun. The comm of Castrima Under—where Essun currently dwells—has been damaged by their war with Rennaris. The people must find a new place to ride out the Fifth Season. Due to Essun’s annihilation of the Rennarin people, the comm decides to travel the far distance to the now-abandoned city. Essun’s still plans to grab the moon when its orbit circles close, but there is still time before she must leave her place within the com. Nessun, meanwhile, begins her trek to the other side of the world, with Shaffa and the Stone Eater, Steel, as companions. Steel can transport them through the earth, but Nassun fears the Stone Eater may “accidently” lose Shaffa on the journey. This means a longer way is necessary, going to an ancient station capable of taking them through the earth’s core. But at the earth’s center is something far more frightening than Steel’s mode of transportation. Mixed in with these two accounts is a flashback into Hoa’s past, where the events that lead to the war with Father Earth are finally revealed. Pros: I loved the addition of Hoa’s storyline. It was terrible seeing the beginning of orogenes and the atrocities the ancient society did in order to maintain peace and balance. The choices Hoa and his kind made are understandable, and parallel the conflict within Essun and Nassun. Essun wishes to save the earth by grabbing the moon. Nassun, based on Shaffa’s pessimistic—or maybe weary—view of the world, wishes for it, and Father Earth, to die. I was also pleasantly pleased by the actual ending, the last chapter. SPOILER: I thought the perfect match for Essun was Innon and Alabaster; the three of them together made a wonderful family. However, seeing her paired with Hoa was heartwarming. Essun’s life was so horrible and filled with so much tragedy, it was uplifting to see she wound up with a happy ending. Cons: Once we got the reunion between mother and daughter, the character motivations were understandable, but rather annoying. The reader has the benefit of seeing the character’s thoughts, so I was frustrated when the two were unable to communicate their desires to the other. Like I said, understandable considering all that had happened between them, but at the same time, I wanted to shake them both and make them talk it out! Alas, too much had transpired, too much harm had been done—to both of them. Conclusion: This was a fantastic final. Satisfying and rather hopeful for a brighter future. I’d been doubting whether this would have a happy ending or not. And it surprisingly does. Or maybe—to coin a phrase from the romance genre—a Happy For Now. I loved everything about this series, the characters, the world, the magic. It was emotional the whole way through, tugging on my heartstrings over and over and over. I was very sad when it ended. I could read so much more in this world. Perhaps Jemisin will revisit the world a thousand years in the future—like Brandon Sanderson’s ideas for Mistborn. Rating: 4 out of 5 For more from N. K. Jemisin, you can check out her website.
  13. Earlier today, Barnes & Noble released a detailed analysis of many components that make up The Wheel of Time series. The article focuses on wordcount, and how that applies to several areas of the novels, including character's gender, character's nationality, character's occupation, as well as words per book, and words averaged per chapter. It's a bit overwhelming to look at it in number form, but author Kevin Klein does a fantastic job of explaining what each graph represents, and what we can infer from viewing them all together. If you're in the mood for some deep thinking—or you happen to be in the White or Brown Ajahs—check out Klein's article!
  14. Later this month, Tor.com will be kicking off a new column devoted to reading The Wheel of Time, aptly named "Reading the Wheel of Time." This weekly article will be headed by Kelsey Jefferson Barrett. Barrett, though steeped in sci-fi and fantasy, has yet to embark on a journey through The Wheel of Time series. He will be looking at it all through a new lens and with fresh perspective. Barrett's first steps through Randland will debut Tuesday, February 20th. To celebrate this, and encourage everyone to read along, Tor.com is giving away free ebook copies of The Eye of the World to Tor's Ebook Club members! The free copies can only be redeemed February 13th, 14th, and 15th! Be sure to act quickly so you don't get left behind! Wheel of Time fans rallied behind Leigh Butler and her reread on Tor.com, and I'm sure Barrett will do an equally amazing job of seeing the depth and complexities that make up Robert Jordan's universe. I'm excited to gaze upon its wonder for the first time--even if only by association. View full news item
  15. Later this month, Tor.com will be kicking off a new column devoted to reading The Wheel of Time, aptly named "Reading the Wheel of Time." This weekly article will be headed by Kelsey Jefferson Barrett. Barrett, though steeped in sci-fi and fantasy, has yet to embark on a journey through The Wheel of Time series. He will be looking at it all through a new lens and with fresh perspective. Barrett's first steps through Randland will debut Tuesday, February 20th. To celebrate this, and encourage everyone to read along, Tor.com is giving away free ebook copies of The Eye of the World to Tor's Ebook Club members! The free copies can only be redeemed February 13th, 14th, and 15th! Be sure to act quickly so you don't get left behind! Wheel of Time fans rallied behind Leigh Butler and her reread on Tor.com, and I'm sure Barrett will do an equally amazing job of seeing the depth and complexities that make up Robert Jordan's universe. I'm excited to gaze upon its wonder for the first time--even if only by association.
  16. This edition of “Fantasy Review” is for The Obelisk Gate, the second novel in N. K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth series. This book was also awarded the Hugo for Best Novel in 2017. It’s easy to see why. Synopsis: Reunited with Alabaster, Essun once again becomes the learner. He has plans—and since he is turning into a rock—it’s up to Essun to finish them. They try to make the best of things in their new comm, Castrima, but when the world is breaking down, no place is safe. Not only do they need to contend with a dwindling food supply due to the ash-filled sky, but wild animals mutate during a Season, and their evolved abilities can be devastating. When Alabaster finally reveals his mission of catching the moon, Essun wonders if she can accomplish such a fete. Meanwhile, Jija and Nassun travel for a year to reach the safety—and a promised cure for orogeny—in Found Moon. There, Nassun is put in the charge of three Guardians—all of whom have panicked and given their bodies over to the voices inside their heads. The leader of the bunch is Schaffa and he takes a particular liking to Nassun and eventually makes the connection of her being the daughter of Syenite. While Jija wants Nassun to cure herself of orogeny, her desire to help Schaffa pushes her powers to new and startling depths. Pros: These characters are amazing! So developed, captivating, realistic. It’s easy to understand Essun’s choices and her point of view of the world. Her struggles—trying to piece together the life of Syenite, which Alabaster represents, and her life as a mother, which Lerna represents—resonate with raw emotions. This was another book that made me cry. The evolution of the magic system is one of the main driving forces in this novel. With Alabaster’s help, Essun is able to sense something that is not orogeny. It’s described as silver, and it is dubbed as “magic.” With magic and orogeny, Essun’s task to grab the moon may be in reach. Nassun takes more prominence. Her powers grow incredibly fast once she’s under the care and guidance of the Guardians. It’s hard to get a good read on Schaffa’s character. He’s been portrayed as nothing but evil since book one, and Nassun’s favorable opinion of him makes me think he may be redeemed. Or perhaps he’s able to con Nassun easier than he could Syenite. And though Alabaster is not very active in this storyline, he is still my favorite character. Though I also grew to like Hoa—the stone eater who has claimed Essun. The end of the first novel revealed him as the narrator, and knowing that it’s his perspective gave a lot more insight to his character. I’m really interested in the link between orogenes and the stone eaters. It seems like an Aes Sedai/Warder type relationship, but it does have hints of something more sinister. Cons: The pace slowed down a lot from the first book. In The Fifth Season, it covered three different timelines spread out over 30 years. So for this novel to have the scope of only one year, it seemed like not many things were happening at once. Not necessarily a bad thing, a slow pace does not mean a boring book. But for me, personally, it didn’t feel as sweeping and encompassing as the previous novel. Conclusion: I am amazed at the writing of the these novels, the tone and voice, the growth of characters, the details of the world. This one slowed down a bit, but I’m still loving the journey. I’m hoping the concluding novel, The Stone Sky, gives me the epic finale I’m waiting for. Rating: 4 out of 5 For more from N. K. Jemisin, you can check out her website. View full news item
  17. This edition of “Fantasy Review” is for The Obelisk Gate, the second novel in N. K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth series. This book was also awarded the Hugo for Best Novel in 2017. It’s easy to see why. Synopsis: Reunited with Alabaster, Essun once again becomes the learner. He has plans—and since he is turning into a rock—it’s up to Essun to finish them. They try to make the best of things in their new comm, Castrima, but when the world is breaking down, no place is safe. Not only do they need to contend with a dwindling food supply due to the ash-filled sky, but wild animals mutate during a Season, and their evolved abilities can be devastating. When Alabaster finally reveals his mission of catching the moon, Essun wonders if she can accomplish such a fete. Meanwhile, Jija and Nassun travel for a year to reach the safety—and a promised cure for orogeny—in Found Moon. There, Nassun is put in the charge of three Guardians—all of whom have panicked and given their bodies over to the voices inside their heads. The leader of the bunch is Schaffa and he takes a particular liking to Nassun and eventually makes the connection of her being the daughter of Syenite. While Jija wants Nassun to cure herself of orogeny, her desire to help Schaffa pushes her powers to new and startling depths. Pros: These characters are amazing! So developed, captivating, realistic. It’s easy to understand Essun’s choices and her point of view of the world. Her struggles—trying to piece together the life of Syenite, which Alabaster represents, and her life as a mother, which Lerna represents—resonate with raw emotions. This was another book that made me cry. The evolution of the magic system is one of the main driving forces in this novel. With Alabaster’s help, Essun is able to sense something that is not orogeny. It’s described as silver, and it is dubbed as “magic.” With magic and orogeny, Essun’s task to grab the moon may be in reach. Nassun takes more prominence. Her powers grow incredibly fast once she’s under the care and guidance of the Guardians. It’s hard to get a good read on Schaffa’s character. He’s been portrayed as nothing but evil since book one, and Nassun’s favorable opinion of him makes me think he may be redeemed. Or perhaps he’s able to con Nassun easier than he could Syenite. And though Alabaster is not very active in this storyline, he is still my favorite character. Though I also grew to like Hoa—the stone eater who has claimed Essun. The end of the first novel revealed him as the narrator, and knowing that it’s his perspective gave a lot more insight to his character. I’m really interested in the link between orogenes and the stone eaters. It seems like an Aes Sedai/Warder type relationship, but it does have hints of something more sinister. Cons: The pace slowed down a lot from the first book. In The Fifth Season, it covered three different timelines spread out over 30 years. So for this novel to have the scope of only one year, it seemed like not many things were happening at once. Not necessarily a bad thing, a slow pace does not mean a boring book. But for me, personally, it didn’t feel as sweeping and encompassing as the previous novel. Conclusion: I am amazed at the writing of the these novels, the tone and voice, the growth of characters, the details of the world. This one slowed down a bit, but I’m still loving the journey. I’m hoping the concluding novel, The Stone Sky, gives me the epic finale I’m waiting for. Rating: 4 out of 5 For more from N. K. Jemisin, you can check out her website.
  18. This edition of “Fantasy Review” is for The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin. This story was the winner of the 2016 Hugo for Best Novel. And it was a fantastic read! Slight spoilers follow. Synopsis: The earth is in fluctuation. Father Earth hates the humans who inhabit him, and he is constantly spewing his molten blood to their surface homes. Periods where his anger is most fierce are called Seasons, and ash clouds block out the sky for decades, if not centuries. Essun doesn’t even notice when the Season starts because she is lost in grief over the death of her son. He was murdered by Jija, his father, her husband. Jija discovered the child was an orogene—a person given less-than-human status who is able to control the shifts and energy within the earth—a skill inherited from Essun. She sets out to track Jija down and make him pay for the murder of her youngest child. Damaya is a girl who recently discovered she was an orogene. A Guardian—members who keep the orogenes’ magic in check—is sent to bring her back to the Fulcrum to learn to control her powers. The Guardian is not there protect her, but to protect the rest of humanity from her. She struggles to find her place in life and in the Fulcrum. Syenite is a four-ringer orogene. She is chosen for a mission, and is forced to take Alabaster—a ten-ringer—along. The Fulcrum pairs them with instructions to mate. The child of Alabaster is sure to be powerful, so he is often used in breeding. The two are an unlikely couple, but along the way they bond over trials and tribulation. But Alabaster’s more than a little mad, and he might drag Syenite into insanity with him. Pros: The synopsis is long and detailed because the story and its characters are so detailed. The richness of this tale cannot be explained with words. It is emotion, deep and sometimes unsettling. The world is cruel and the characters seem to suffer more than their fair share of the despair. But they all persevere. It is a theme through the novel: no matter how often Father Earth sends ash clouds, the human race has not died off yet. But, the story seems to suggest maybe they should. Out of all the characters, I loved Alabaster the most. I could see a bit of Rand in him—driven slightly mad by the infinite power he can wield. He cracked under the strain of his life, but kept living in spite of it all. He and Syenite together were wonderful and engrossing. Though never a true romantic pairing, there is a sense of love between them—transcending the bond forged from forced lovers. Their time together was the most enjoyable to read. Syenite herself was just as capable as Alabaster, but not nearly as wounded from the ways of the Fulcrum. Much of that may have stemmed from her powers—she’s nowhere near as powerful as him. One scene in particular with them made my heart ache with its loveliness. My emotions were stirred so deeply, I thought of this scene for days. But I won’t say more, in fear of too many spoilers. The stories of Essun and Damaya were both interesting. The pain in Essun after the loss of her son was so vivid. And Damaya, packed up and shipped off to a place she would lose her status as human, was equally pitying. I couldn’t get enough of this world and these characters. Cons: The format. I’ve made statements about this in regard to other books. It think this is my old-fashioned look on genre fiction. The standard is 3rd person omnipotent, past tense. Those are the rules. I think this works because when dealing with such fantastical ideas and worlds, clear and concise language solidifies it in the mind of the reader. But, this is all personal preference. It had no bearing on the enjoyment of the story. The weird—or maybe “not common” is a better description—format in this novel comes at you from two fronts. First, the writing is done in present tense. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but something that readers might not be used to. And the other front? All the chapters from Essun’s perspective are written in 2nd person point of view. The reader is given the persona of Essun, letting them experience the world more clearly through her eyes. The other characters remain in 3rd person. Does this format work? Yes, it does. It’s sort of explained why this format is used, as well. I will be honest and admit it threw me off at first. However, the characters, plot, and setting quickly grabbed me back and steadied me. After I got used to this way of looking at the story, it was not a hindrance at all. And that is the only con I can even come close to saying. This novel was brilliant and near perfect in its execution. Conclusion: I was awed by this story. The worldbuilding was incredible, the characters three dimensional with flaws and faults, their exploits riveting. It’s very easy to see why it was awarded the Hugo. The day I completed this novel, I began reading the second in the series. Rating: 5 out of 5 For more from N. K. Jemisin, you can check out her website. View full news item
  19. This edition of “Fantasy Review” is for The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin. This story was the winner of the 2016 Hugo for Best Novel. And it was a fantastic read! Slight spoilers follow. Synopsis: The earth is in fluctuation. Father Earth hates the humans who inhabit him, and he is constantly spewing his molten blood to their surface homes. Periods where his anger is most fierce are called Seasons, and ash clouds block out the sky for decades, if not centuries. Essun doesn’t even notice when the Season starts because she is lost in grief over the death of her son. He was murdered by Jija, his father, her husband. Jija discovered the child was an orogene—a person given less-than-human status who is able to control the shifts and energy within the earth—a skill inherited from Essun. She sets out to track Jija down and make him pay for the murder of her youngest child. Damaya is a girl who recently discovered she was an orogene. A Guardian—members who keep the orogenes’ magic in check—is sent to bring her back to the Fulcrum to learn to control her powers. The Guardian is not there protect her, but to protect the rest of humanity from her. She struggles to find her place in life and in the Fulcrum. Syenite is a four-ringer orogene. She is chosen for a mission, and is forced to take Alabaster—a ten-ringer—along. The Fulcrum pairs them with instructions to mate. The child of Alabaster is sure to be powerful, so he is often used in breeding. The two are an unlikely couple, but along the way they bond over trials and tribulation. But Alabaster’s more than a little mad, and he might drag Syenite into insanity with him. Pros: The synopsis is long and detailed because the story and its characters are so detailed. The richness of this tale cannot be explained with words. It is emotion, deep and sometimes unsettling. The world is cruel and the characters seem to suffer more than their fair share of the despair. But they all persevere. It is a theme through the novel: no matter how often Father Earth sends ash clouds, the human race has not died off yet. But, the story seems to suggest maybe they should. Out of all the characters, I loved Alabaster the most. I could see a bit of Rand in him—driven slightly mad by the infinite power he can wield. He cracked under the strain of his life, but kept living in spite of it all. He and Syenite together were wonderful and engrossing. Though never a true romantic pairing, there is a sense of love between them—transcending the bond forged from forced lovers. Their time together was the most enjoyable to read. Syenite herself was just as capable as Alabaster, but not nearly as wounded from the ways of the Fulcrum. Much of that may have stemmed from her powers—she’s nowhere near as powerful as him. One scene in particular with them made my heart ache with its loveliness. My emotions were stirred so deeply, I thought of this scene for days. But I won’t say more, in fear of too many spoilers. The stories of Essun and Damaya were both interesting. The pain in Essun after the loss of her son was so vivid. And Damaya, packed up and shipped off to a place she would lose her status as human, was equally pitying. I couldn’t get enough of this world and these characters. Cons: The format. I’ve made statements about this in regard to other books. It think this is my old-fashioned look on genre fiction. The standard is 3rd person omnipotent, past tense. Those are the rules. I think this works because when dealing with such fantastical ideas and worlds, clear and concise language solidifies it in the mind of the reader. But, this is all personal preference. It had no bearing on the enjoyment of the story. The weird—or maybe “not common” is a better description—format in this novel comes at you from two fronts. First, the writing is done in present tense. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but something that readers might not be used to. And the other front? All the chapters from Essun’s perspective are written in 2nd person point of view. The reader is given the persona of Essun, letting them experience the world more clearly through her eyes. The other characters remain in 3rd person. Does this format work? Yes, it does. It’s sort of explained why this format is used, as well. I will be honest and admit it threw me off at first. However, the characters, plot, and setting quickly grabbed me back and steadied me. After I got used to this way of looking at the story, it was not a hindrance at all. And that is the only con I can even come close to saying. This novel was brilliant and near perfect in its execution. Conclusion: I was awed by this story. The worldbuilding was incredible, the characters three dimensional with flaws and faults, their exploits riveting. It’s very easy to see why it was awarded the Hugo. The day I completed this novel, I began reading the second in the series. Rating: 5 out of 5 For more from N. K. Jemisin, you can check out her website.
  20. Mashiara, White Sitter. Gotta say Fassbender. I love him so, so much. And I love Lan so, so much. Makes sense.
  21. This rubbed me the wrong way, as it should be GoT being compared to WoT. But that's me being a WoT-snob.
  22. Not sure that's true since it took me nearly a month to complete this simple task. :P But you're welcome! <3
  23. Frederick "Ted" Field, an Executive Producer with Sony, may be making some announcements about the potential Wheel of Time television series in the near future. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Field's sudden luck with the successful Jumani: Welcome to the Jungle film late last year may help with developments for The Wheel of Time show. They state that Field has several big announcements coming soon, and "[o]ne of those announcements will be a television series for Wheel of Time, a fantasy series based on the work of Robert Jordan that has been compared to Game of Thrones. This franchise has been the subject of much mystery and speculation. When FXX rushed the production of a pilot and aired it at the odd hour of 1:30 am, all sorts of discussion proceeded on message boards and in the news media on whether the gambit was an attempt by one production company to hold onto rights. That led to a slander lawsuit, which was later settled. Now, Field is prepared to announce a future for Wheel of Time." Adam Whitehead laments that while Sony holds the rights, they haven't found a network to air the show, and Narg the Trolloc has an up-to-date list about who might be able to host the series once the planning stage is complete. Hopefully we'll hear something soon. We're all very anxious for any developments that lead Rand, Mat, Perrin, and all the others, closer to our TV screens.
  24. Is that last one working for you? *mutters about all the new changes on DM's coding*
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