David Eddings - Castle of Wizardry

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Before I opened this blog I had recently read the first volume (omnibus edition) of the Belgariad. Castle of Wizardry is the 4th book in the 5 book series.

Castle of Wizardry had a very different feel to it than the previous 3 books. Up until now, the series mostly followed the travel of Garion, Belgarath, and Polgara as they went to all the different countries and picked up more travelers. In this book, the characters are now settled down as the first major event (retrieving the orb of Aldur) has taken place. Garion and Ce'Nedra are now in Riva and ready to be corronated. Both of them underdo a lot of character development as they relate to their people and learn to rule. Ce'Nedra, who has a whole section of the book to herself, particularly grows a lot (of course she is still stubborn and difficult most of the time). So I guess you could say this book has less action and more focus on individual characters. Most of the second half of the book seems like it is preparation for the big final battle, and I'm looking forwards to it.

Although the Belgariad is very enjoyable, it is very obviously aimed mostly for children or young adults. There are sometimes hints of adult themes but Eddings never expressly says anything. The story overall is very cute and charming, but there just isn't enough depth to really make me emotionally attached to anything that is happening. I wish I picked this up when I was younger though, it would have been a great first fantasy read.


Robert Jordan - A Crown of Swords

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

People like me picking up the Wheel of Time sort of late in the game have heard the warnings: it gets long, drawn-out, and nothing happens. Book 7 was long and drawn out, but at least something happened.

RJ has so many characters that including each one in the book would clog up hundreds of pages. It doesn't have to be that way of course, but considering his story-telling style, that's what would happen. It's like he's incapable of a plotline overlapping multiple people's points of view. The whole bowl of the winds thing made me want to fall asleep. Actually, during most of the audiobook I DID stop paying attention.

The only other thing that happens is that Rand takes Illian. Okay. That happens in the LAST chapter of the book. The LAST 30 pages. Before that all that's happening are factions Aes Sedai fighting with each other. And there is no Egwene in this book (who I enjoy most). All of Perrin we see is a sort of paranoid dude who obsesses over his wife. Not cool.

Anyways this volume was considerably less enjoyable than the ones before it. At least in book 6 there is a fantastic ending. The plot resolutions here were kind of boring slash predictable.


Brandon Sanderson - The Way of Kings

Monday, September 13, 2010

After long last I have finally finished this book! I received it the day it was released, but it took me almost 2 weeks to get through it (well, classes started in between too).

I had really high expectations for this book. Brandon Sanderson has proven himself a master storyteller and world builder. He has a lot to live up to after his Mistborn trilogy. In all I enjoyed this book, but I had some problems with it that were also pointed out by other reviewers.

1. At times the book does seem like it is an exercise in worldbuilding. A lot of the traditions practiced by the people seem weird, like men being illiterate, women keeping their left hand covered, spren for like everything (windspren, laughterspren, gloryspren...), and the whole lighteyes/darkeyes thing. I assume the eye color will be sorted out later in the series because of some hints throughout the book. It's just hard to absorb and understand everything. I'm just sitting there like, "why include this?"

2. Kaladin's storyline was a bit overly drawn out. I mean he must have taken up about half the book and his point of view was somewhat limited since he was just a slave (as in, we didn't get a worldview of what was happening just his daily experiences). I feel like some of the bridgemen narrative could have been cut out.

3. Kaladin ("I cant save anyone!!") and Dalinar ("Am I going insane?") are both really angsty characters and sometimes I got tired of it, especially in Kaladin

4. Some of the humor did seemed forced or was overdone. Shallan really resembled the female characters in Warbreaker in the beginning

5. It got slow in the middle with the war versus the Parshendi.

6. Adolin is kind of an annoying character

Things I really liked:

1. Kaladin's backstory, and most of Shallan's storyline

2. The last one hundred pages or so when a lot of information was revealed. It makes me excited for the next book. Shit's going down!

3. Dalinar at the end = HOTNESS. He's my favorite character now.