reviews

Rhythm of War, Brandon Sanderson’s most recent doorstop entry in the Stormlight Archive, was released in November of 2020. At 1,232 pages, it is the longest novel in the series and for this reviewer the densest. I began my journey with Sanderson in December of 2017 with The Way of Kings, and despite having never read anything else by him, I was instantly hooked by his mysterious world, compelling characters, and thrilling magic system. Little did I know how essential the rest of his Cosmere was to this series, and how much more I would appreciate Rhythm of War having gone back and read specifically the six Mistborn novels and Warbreaker.

How many other authors set out to write a novella and accidentally write a novel? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know of many. I do know a former professor of mine who once received a master’s degree he didn’t know he was working toward if that counts, but I don’t think it does. In any case, this was the case with Brandon Sanderson’s Dawnshard, the second Stormlight Archive “novella.” Written as part of BranSan’s kickstarter for the leatherbound Way of Kings, Dawnshard was originally supposed to be about the same length as Edgedancer but ended up over 56,000 words (double what it was intended to be). While this is short for a SFF novel, it is technically long enough to be considered a novel.

As I believe I have mentioned in previous reviews, I have greatly struggled this year to actually sit down and read a physical book. My last six reviews, I believe, have all been audio books. It is therefore with sincere happiness I can tell you about Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi, the first physical book I have managed to read in its entirety since February.

Piranesi tells the story of a lone man’s life in an otherworldly house comprised of labyrinthine corridors, populated by stunning statues, and filled with a boundless ocean. His lone companion, apart from a wide variety of birds and fish, is the Other, a mysterious man who seeks Piranesi’s aid in discovering A Great and Secret Knowledge within the House.  But in search of this secret knowledge, Piranesi uncovers a far more sinister truth than he could have possible imagined. What follows is a tale comparable to likes of Carroll, Lewis, or L’Engle.

Mister Monday is the first installment in Garth Nix’s series The Keys to the Kingdom and is one of my favorite childhood reads. The story follows young Arthur Penhaligon in his quest to solve the mystery revolving around an enigmatic House only he can see and the strange denizens dwelling within.

Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb is the first book in The Rainwild Chronicles and the tenth book in The Realm of the Elderlings series. Similar to Liveship Traders, Dragon Keeper takes place in the same world as Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy and The Tawny Man Trilogy while not pertaining to FitzChivalry Farseer, and in some ways is a sequel series to Liveship Traders.

I have had Red Rising by Pierce Brown on my TBR pile for years, but it took my wife reading it for her book club for me to finally break down and read it. I had always wanted to read it – I’ve heard rave reviews – but other books have always taken precedence. So when Brandy joined the ranks of people singing Darrow’s praises, I knew I had to jump in before my impressions became too tainted, and oh boy, gentle reader, am I glad I did. Sitting now on the far side of Morning Star, I can tell you that Red Rising is the first book in one of my all-time favorite trilogies.

Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination. 

This is the first ideal of the Knights Radiant, a legendary military organization purportedly blessed with supernatural powers by the Almighty. Revered in their time, the people of Roshar once considered the Heralds, the ten leaders of the Knights Radiants, as divinities until they betrayed humanity, forsook their oaths, and disappeared. Centuries later, their names are still whispered in awe and disdain in this world of storms and stone. All that remains of them are their Shardblades and Shardplate, mystical weapons and suits of armor worth kingdoms.

Jenn Lyons’ The Name of All Things is the sequel to The Ruin of Kings and the second book in the A Chorus of Dragons series. Unlike the first book, which followed the story of Kihrin D’Mon, The Name of All Things primarily tells the story of Janel Theranon, a mysterious character introduced near the end of The Ruin of Kings. The stories happen nearly concurrently with the majority of the interlude chapters moving forward the timeline while the last quarter of the book advances their collective narrative.

Dear gentle readers out in social isolation, if you are anything like me, you have likely been turning to your comforts in this time of uncertainty: fantasy, weapons, fighting, bacon. Or you know…other things like alcohol, chocolate, movies, and most definitely books. My first quarantine review is for none other than The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons, a book which asks the question, “What if you weren’t the hero?

Joe Abercrombie’s A Little Hatred goes a long way, following a new generation as they experience a shift in the world of the First Law. The Age of Magic is all but dead. The Age of the Machine has arrived, and it is an age of madness.

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