William
William

William

William is from Sussex, UK.

He has a passion for literature and enjoys reading all sorts of books. His hobbies are numerous and consist of medieval/viking reenactment, writing, karate and of course reading.

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson 10, Jul

The Way of Kings was a fantastic first instalment to The Stormlight Archive that was riveting and immersive all the way through.

"Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack."

The Way of Kings is the first book in The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. It is filled with intrigue, action, and convoluted plots. I have heard a great amount of praise for this author, and this book was the first time I delved into the widely loved work of Sanderson.

This is a large tome that is over a 1000 pages long! It phased me slightly as I was anticipating spells of boredom and periods of inactivity. But oh I was wrong! Throughout this novel, a large cast is presented and developed in a great manner, the plot is continuously unfolding, and the world is always yielding more secrets to the hungry reader. I couldn't ask for much more.

"Sometimes the prize is not worth the costs. The means by which we achieve victory are as important as the victory itself."

There are three main PoV's in this book, with a substantial number of minor characters, some who only have one or two chapters dedicated to them. But each member either contributed to the world or plot in a pivotal manner that interested me and kept my eyes stuck to the pages.

Brightlord Dalinar is an effective general who is renowned for his skill in combat alongside his extremely honourable nature. He lives his life by what is known as The Codes, a set of rules that inspire loyalty, charity, courage and modesty. He was one of my favourite characters who formed a prominent role in this story, partly for his personality, and partly because of the epic large scale battles that took place with him.

Kaladin is a skilled warrior of the lower class who has been made a slave for unclear reasons. But whatever has happened, it is known to be scarring because his past experiences affect him deeply and inspire fear and doubt within his previously steadfast nature. His conflicting emotions and overwhelming care for others quickly established his character as someone who I knew I would love to read about. His story was continuously tense and faced overwhelming problems that provided a depth to his character that I loved.

Shallan is a scholar who seeks to gain the apprenticeship of a famous mage. Anyone would be honoured to gain a place, and many are sent to further family standing, but Shallan has a darker and far more dangerous agenda... Her story was also enjoyable, although this was the only part of the story that I sometimes felt lost a bit of steam. There was not as much action, but more political actions filled with philosophical debates that constructed such a major part of the world. Her story definitely picked up again, and revealed a number of shocking revelations that changed the atmosphere of the story by raising the tension and creating a general feel of unexpectancy, always leaving me on the edge.

"What you saw belongs to you. A story doesn't live until it is imagined in someones mind."

As I said earlier, the plot was continuously unfolding, with mysteries present at all times that were intriguing and encouraged me to just read with any spare moment I could catch.

A few portions of the world have been portrayed, with most of the story taking place around the war zone of the Shattered Plains. So there is a lot more to explore in the following novels.

Sanderson's prose is vivid and clear and smooth, creating a well-balanced quantity of description and action that satisfied my needs as a reader. This was a great part of the story that allowed me to immerse myself into the plot with an understanding of the world that heightened the reading journey.

"It is the journey that shapes us. Our callused feet, our backs strong from carrying the weight of our travels, our eyes open with the fresh delight of experience lived."

So, The Way of Kings was a fantastic opening to The Stormlight Archive that has invested me in the characters with their developed personalities, intriguing plot, and intriguing world. I will most definitely be reading the next instalment with a large amount of anticipation and excitement as I have heard the popular opinion that Words of Radiance is even better!

5/5 STARS

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett 02, Jul

"Notoriety wasn't as good as fame, but was heaps better than obscurity."

Good Omens is a modern, humorous and unique take on Armageddon and the events leading up to it. Despite being published in the 1990s, the cultural references and problems depicted still feel incredibly current, making this appear as a timeless read - the book is thought provoking to any modern reader. I recently watched the Amazon adaptation of the book and that was also very good. They are very similar to each other, with only slight differences of focus that were not monumental.

The prose is irregular and unique, often going off on tangents. This was sometimes hilarious and at other times mind-boggling. Whichever way it was, the book was easy to read and flowed wonderfully, as one would expect when written by these two esteemed authors. It was a very different style that took a while to acclimatise to, but once that had happened, I found it to be entirely excellent.

The characters were diverse and great! In particular the partnership between the demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale. They were absolutely brilliant together, with a depth crafted from 6000 years of experience with each other. This was definitely a strong point of the novel, and their interactions with each other formed my favourite parts of he plot. 

"Hell may have all the best composers, but Heaven has all the best choreographers."

The world depicted varied widely, from London, to a rural town, to a hospital, and each was described vividly with interesting aspects that made them natural and carried on with the humorous atmosphere of the book.

The plot was not a prominent nature of the book, as the story revolved more around the characters and humour, but that made the story no less interesting. The stakes were as high as they could get, being the world and all of mankind! Armageddon taking place with angelic and demonic forces preparing themselves for the war to end all wars. Even though the stakes were as high as it can get, the humours leaks from every page, with so many wonderfully memorable lines. One of my favourites involved a confused Hellhound.

"Dog was starting to doubt himself."

So Good Omens was an exciting and interesting read that was eventful and just hilarious. I soon adjusted to the irregular prose and ended up loving the style of the writing. I loved its unique take on Armageddon and the subtle and thought provoking cultural references. I recommend this to anyone who has enjoyed the programme, and anyone in the mood for a light-hearted read that nevertheless tackles thought-provoking themes.

 

4/5 STARS

Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden - Book Review 25, Jun

"There are no monsters in the world, and no saints. Only infinite shades woven into the same tapestry, light and dark. One man's monster is another man's beloved. The wise know that."

The Winter of he Witch was the finale to the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two instalments, but this was still by far my favourite of the series with its great conclusion to the story and wonderful culmination of events.

The impressive aspects of the previous two books such as the unique characters and interesting plot continued and developed once again. Each book in the trilogy improves on its predecessor and I found this was consistently intriguing and faster paced than the first two instalments. 

I enjoyed the Winter of the Witch all the way through and thoroughly enjoyed how the climax was much larger than before with multiple conflicts arising to a greater scale. The action sequences were well written and gripping as the tension grew and greater dangers arose. There were large scale battles for the first time and they were depicted in a vivid and immersive manner. It felt epic, with an appropriate build in tension and scale from book 1 to book 3.

"Not one life lost is worth the price of my grief. Do you think that I'm a fool, that you can drip words like sweet poison in my ear? I am not your ally, monster, nor will I ever be."

I have enjoyed from the start the realism combined with the faery-tale style, with historically authentic difficulties faced in medieval Russia, such as wealth, invasion and social hierarchy. Arden created a great balance of these themes with heroism, tragedy and magic. All things that I love to read about in novels I dedicate myself too.

Historical events were wonderfully blended with fantastical elements during the key moments in the novel and continued that brilliant aspect of the story. The Russian mythological culture was expanded and played a more prominent role in this final instalment, and was one of the reasons that I love this book.

"It is not for men and women to presume what the Lord wishes. That way lies evil, when men put themselves too high, saying, I know what God wants, for it is also what I want."

The Winter of the Witch was a great conclusion to the Winternight Trilogy and has left me wishing that there was more to come. I will miss the characters and world that Arden created in the medieval setting of Russia and hope that there is a return to it one day.