Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Teaser Tuesday - A Memory of Light, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their To Be Read (TBR) Lists if they like your teasers!

----------

As The Last Battle rages, and as men fight against the minions of the Dark One, Perrin once again tracks down Slayer and confronts him.

The Tease:
"Perrin did not hold back in the fight with Slayer.  He did not try to distinguish between wolf and man.  He finally let everything out, every bit of rage at Slayer, every bit of pain at the deaths of his family--pressures which had been growing inside him unnoticed for months.
He let it out."
 -The Wheel of Time, Book 14: A Memory of Light,
by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

What's your Tease?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Movie News - Ender's Game Movie Poster


As you can see, the movie poster for the movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card's Sci-Fi novel Ender's Game was released today.

I'm still conflicted about whether to see this movie.  I think I probably will, because "Hooray For Sci-Fi" and all that.  However, political and social issues aside, the movie poster is pretty stunning!  It's not at all how I imagined the Battle Room when I read the book, but this is actually so much better.  The rest of the artwork is a little generic, but the view through the airlock sort of makes up for it, I think.  Apparently, having ones back to the camera in movie posters is the new hooded man of book covers.  Oh well.

What do you think about the movie poster?  Like it? Hate it? Don't care?  Are you planning on seeing Ender's Game when it comes out in November?  Let me know what you think in the comments!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Book Review - The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N. K. Jemisin

The Inheritance Trilogy, by N. K. Jemisin
1. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms    12/13/2012    * * * *
2. The Broken Kingdoms                      12/31/2012    * * * *
3. The Kingdom of Gods                       01/26/2013    * * * *

From Goodreads:
"Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother's death and her family's bloody history.

With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Yeine will learn how perilous it can be when love and hate - and gods and mortals - are bound inseparably together."

My Thoughts:
The Arameri family rule the world with an iron fist.  Any dissent or heresy is quickly and brutally stamped out of existence.  For you see, the ruling family has an advantage - they control the gods, who must bow to the whim of anyone in the family.

When Yeine arrives at the elevated city of Sky, she is somewhat naive about what awaits her, even though she is used to ruling a country herself.  But the political intrigue, the silent battles fought between her various relatives, and the casual cruelness that she encounters all combine to throw her off balance as she tries to learn how to survive in what seems to be a mad house.

Luckily she has some help.  One of the captive gods has taken an interest in her, and seems to have plans that involve her participation - whether she wants to or not.  And the world will pay for her choice, no matter what decision she makes.

N. K. Jemisin has created an amazingly beautiful and unique world filled with interesting and colorful characters.  The prose is dreamy, and often surreal.  The story moves quickly and there is never a dull moment as Yeine is thrust from one impossible situation to another, until she at last begins to understand her situation and takes control of her own life and future.  Yet the story never feels rushed.  Fantasy, action, politics, family, and a small amount of romance all collide and create a whole that is greater than the sum of its' parts.

I truly enjoyed reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and highly recommend it to anyone.  I gave it four stars.  This is the first books in a trilogy, but at the same time is a complete story in itself, making it easy to try out.  But I'm willing to bet that if you try The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, you'll be instantly hooked, as I was.

If you've read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, leave a comment below and let me know what you thought!  If you haven't read it yet - well, what are you waiting for?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Teaser Tuesday - A Memory of Light, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their To Be Read (TBR) Lists if they like your teasers!

----------

The Last Battle still rages, as men fight against the minions of the Dark One.  Demandred, one of the Forsaken, continuously rakes the battlefield with weaves of Power, killing hundreds, and calling for Rand to come face him in a duel.  But Rand is far away, locked in his own duel, and Galad steps forward to duel with Demandred, hoping to buy time and respite for his fellow warriors.  But a duel against a powerful Forsaken might be impossible to win...

The Tease:
"The sword glanced off the side of the armor, but cut true otherwise. 
As Galad whipped back around, Demandred was limping.  The Forsaken grimaced. 
"You've blooded me," he said.  "It has been a very long time since someone did that.""
 -The Wheel of Time, Book 14: A Memory of Light,
by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

What's your Tease?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Book News - The Republic of Thieves, by Scott Lynch

In case you missed it yesterday, according to the Gollancz Blog a publication date has been set for The Republic of Thieves, by Scott Lynch.

The Republic of Thieves is the third book in the Gentlemen Bastards sequence, which began with The Lies of Locke Lamora, published in 2006, and followed by Red Seas Under Red Skies in 2007.  Since then fans around the world have eagerly awaited the continuation of the critically acclaimed fantasy series, and later this year we will finally get to find out what happened to Locke and his trusty companion Jean.

The Republic of Thieves is scheduled to be released October 8, 2013 in the United States, and October 10, 2013 in the UK and Commonwealth.  Simon Spanton of Gollancz has confirmed that Scott Lynch has delivered the finished manuscript to the publishing house, and the author himself Tweeted his pleasure at finally having a firm publication date.

If you haven't tried this series, I highly recommend it, and you've got plenty of time to read Books 1 and 2 before Book 3 arrives in October. 

My review of The Lies of Locke Lamora.

My review of Red Seas Under Red Skies.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Teaser Tuesday - A Memory of Light, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their To Be Read (TBR) Lists if they like your teasers!

----------

This week, Nynaeve struggles to help Rand as he fights a duel, and she suddenly realizes that there is more to this fight than what she can see.  There are hidden elements, and possibly a trap...

The Tease:
"Nynaeve pressed her hand against (the woman's) wound, feeling helpless.  Dared she call for Rand to release her from the circle?  If she did, Moridin would undoubtedly turn on her and attack (the woman).  What to do?  If this woman died, Rand would lose control.
That, likely, would be the end of him...and of the Last Battle."
 -The Wheel of Time, Book 14: A Memory of Light,
by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

What's your Tease?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Review - The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling

The Casual Vacancy   J.K. Rowling     11/25/2012   * * * *

From Goodreads:
"A BIG NOVEL ABOUT A SMALL TOWN ...

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils ... Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

My Thoughts:
I want to start right away by saying that I quite enjoyed The Casual Vacancy, even though it's been months since I read it and I've been so very slow in writing a review.  The delay is not because the novel was bad.  But it has been difficult for me to sort out my thoughts about this novel.  And sometimes it was a difficult novel to read.

The story revolves around a group of residents of the small town of Pagford, some adults, some teenagers.  On the surface, the town seems idyllic and perfect, simple and peaceful.  But simmering just below the surface are tensions and hatreds and hurts and loves and desires and secrets; all things that people try to hide from their friends, neighbors, and acquaintances.  Barry Fairbrother's death in a parking lot acts as a catalyst, bringing all the hidden emotions and feelings to the surface, and leads to a devastating turn of events that no one could have foreseen.

While that description is correct, and sounds exciting, The Casual Vacancy is not a past-paced exciting novel.  It is, instead, a very quiet, character driven story of regular, ordinary, everyday people living their lives and dealing with the regular, ordinary, everyday things that happen in life.  Adults worry about their jobs, and what their neighbors might be saying about them, and what their kids are getting up to in school, and wonder how to make their lives better, happier, and more tolerable.  The teenagers go to school and worry about whether they will survive the day, or what form of bullying will affect them today, or how to continue without their favorite teacher.  They steal smokes, have sex in in the cemetery, try to keep their mother from overdosing, and cut themselves in the middle of the night because that's the only thing they have control over.

This is where J.K. Rowling really shines - her teenagers are brilliant, and were easily my favorite characters in the story.  A great deal of the drama in the novel revolves around the younger characters, and they are affected by it more strongly, partly, in my opinion, because they have less control of their own lives, and are left at the mercy of the adults around them.

The Casual Vacancy deals, or touches on, quite a few very serious subjects.  Drug use, rape, child neglect, teen sex, cutting, bullying, and domestic violence are all among the things that various characters deal with in their daily lives, and J.K. Rowing handles these very serious subjects with a grace and delicacy that is astonishing, while at the same time forcing the reader to look head-on at the horror of these situations and truly feel the pain and anguish the characters feel.

All of this is described with the authors very familiar style of prose, or at least, familiar to those of us who have spent years reading the Harry Potter series.  When I first began the novel, that sense of familiarity, the sing-song style of her writing lulled me into such a feeling of comfort and security that the first time a character swore or lit a cigarette it was as if a glass of cold water had been tossed in my face.  Shocking!  But I personally became used to this new adult J.K Rowling.  Used to, perhaps, but never quite comfortable with.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Casual Vacancy.  I don't know if I would ever choose to re-read it, but it's a good solid novel that I would recommend to any adult or older teenager.  I gave it four stars, and feel that it is a solid Adult Fiction debut for J.K. Rowling.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Have you read The Casual Vacancy? What are your thoughts?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Teaser Tuesday - A Memory of Light, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their To Be Read (TBR) Lists if they like your teasers!

----------

I'm finally just past the halfway point.  This week, our POV character is Mat, who is currently inspecting a battlefield while having a conversation about his wife...

The Tease:
""What's wrong?" Mat asked.  "I'd have assumed you would be happy to have me back.  It gives you someone else to scowl at."
"The Empress will follow where you go," she said.
"So she will," Mat said.  "As I'll follow where she goes, I suppose. 
I hope that doesn't lead us in too many circles."
 -The Wheel of Time, Book 14: A Memory of Light,
by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

What's your Tease?