Monday, July 13, 2009

Review: Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Title: Mistborn: The Final Empire
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Tor Books
ISBN: 0765350386

Notes: First book in the Mistborn series


Nearly Perfect. The New Standard To Which Fantasy Should Be Held - 5 stars - a book review

Just when you think epic fantasy is beyond tired, someone like Brandon Sanderson comes along and re-imagines the timeless coming of age quest adventure in a way that is so unique, so memorable, so engaging, and more importantly, so refreshing. The review title says it all. Mistborn (The Final Empire) is nearly perfect. The Final Empire has everything that grand fantasy should: a well developed world, a unique and intriguing magic system, an evil that transcends humanity, and a coming of age story.

The premise of The Final Empire is irresistible: a band of lower class people planning the ultimate caper to defeat the evil and oppressive Lord Ruler and the ruling class of nobles all vying for power and money at the expense of the slave-like Skaa. The main characters are all individuals with a unique skillset that helps the party with their objective of destroying the Lord Ruler's grasp on the Mistborn realm. Even better, their unique attributes also help worldbuild and educate the reader on the history and happenings of the last one thousand years.

As mentioned, the magic system is intriguing, to say the least. By ingesting metals, Allomancers can "burn" each metal to perform different magical acts, such as Pushing or Pulling themselves towards metal and "flying" through the air or locating metals, making themselves stronger or faster, and an introduction to fabled metals that are so rare and even unknown. This magic system makes for interesting and exciting battles and help turn the tide for parties with Allomancers.

Sanderson is an incredibly talented writer. He is a tour-de-force in the fantasy genre and should not be missed. I'm not sure that I want to trust anyone that likes fantasy but did not enjoy Mistborn. The only problem I had with The Final Empire is that it took me two years to finally read it.

Good reading,

Plants and Books

Getting Famous?

For the few of you that follow my blog, you may have noticed that I have been on a little hiatus recently. My wife and I adopted a dog about a month ago and instead of reading I have been monitoring his every move. Regardless, because of this cool blog statistic/tracking site, GetClicky, I just checked to see how many people are checking in on my blog (not many) and how they are finding my site (search engines or links from other sites). I found some neat things.

First, Brent Weeks has linked my site on his website with blurbs from my reviews of his NIGHT ANGEL TRILOGY:
Plants and Books says “THE WAY OF SHADOWS is one of the best recent fantasy books I have read, if not one of the best fantasy books I have ever read. There are many strengths to this engaging book; but, one of the strongest is definitely the characters and their moral/ethical dilemmas. THE WAY OF SHADOWS is an emotional ride of vengeance, mercy, justice, terror, and humor.”
Plants and Books posted, “It has been a long time since I have read a book that has so easily charged me emotionally, which if for no other reason, is a reason to read SHADOW’S EDGE.”
In an otherwise tepid review, Plants and Books says “THE NIGHT ANGEL TRILOGY is one of the best additions to the fantasy genre in recent times.”
I had to laugh a little at the last comment on his review page because I did not realize that my review was so "luke warm" since I absolutely loved the book and the entire series.

I was also linked on an eBay listing for the entire Brent Weeks THE NIGHT ANGEL TRILOGY. Since eBay listings come and go, here is a picture:


I was also linked from some blog that you need to be invited to be view, so I have no idea what it is. Maybe if I link the blog here, he or she will see my link and send me an invite. Maybe this person thinks my blog sucks, or maybe this person thinks I'm an idiot. Maybe this person thinks I am the most amazing blogger since the internet was conceived... Obviously there must have been something worthwhile since he linked to me. I NEED TO KNOW!!

Good reading,

Plants and Books

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Review: Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan

Title: Bad Things Happen
Author: Harry Dolan
Copyright: 2009
Publisher: Penguin Group
ISBN: 9780399155635


Elegant Writing With Exceptional Characters - 4 stars - a book review

Every once in a while there is a story that is written in such a unique manner it is hard to explain and impossible to deny. BAD THINGS HAPPEN is such a story. The writing style is not unusual, but has an aura of "classical-ness" to it that makes the story an almost instant classic. Whatever it is that I am trying to describe reminds me of the writing style of JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL. That being said, BAD THINGS HAPPEN is not without faults.

BAD THINGS HAPPEN is unique in the sense that the plot revolves around a group of writers and editors. This premise sets up some great dialogue and postulations by the characters as they scramble to figure out who killed the founder of the murder mystery magazine, Gray Streets. Every single time the phrase, "if this was a story in Gray Streets, such and such would happen" followed by, "But this isn't a story in Gray Streets..." The dialogue is almost unreal in this sense, and nearly makes it impossible to believe, but with each unbelievable moment the story becomes that much more unforgettable.

The problems with BAD THINGS HAPPENS is that as more is uncovered about the murders, the less interested I became in who the actual killer (or killers) was. The story became extremely convoluted with the motives of characters that were insignificant previously and they had motives that were not that interesting to me. Of course, me not being a writer might have something to do with the inability to relate.

Overall, BAD THINGS HAPPENS was a worthwhile read. While not without faults, the dialogue and characters are what drive this story. If you like Charlie Huston's writing, then you will enjoy this book and vice versa.

Good reading,

Plants and Books
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