Un Lun Dun is set in the city of Un Lun Dun, which mirrors London. Things are named based on what the Un Lun Dun residents hear London residents say i...moreUn Lun Dun is set in the city of Un Lun Dun, which mirrors London. Things are named based on what the Un Lun Dun residents hear London residents say in a manner completely reminiscent of Piers Anthony's pun-filled Xanth. Through a case of mistaken identity, a Londoner and her friend are chased into Un Lun Dun by an umbrella, only to discover that one girl is expected to rescue Un Lun Dun from the Smog that is becoming a bigger threat to the abcity.
I had been warned when the book was recommended to me that it was strongly reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, but I saw so many fantasy movies and books in it. It was a quick read, entertaining at times, preachy at others. Deeba was a great protagonist, stronger than the characters I could see reflected in her.
Despite the fact it's set years after the movie, Return to Labyrinth heavily references the movie in sequence, events, and lines. Toby seems far more...moreDespite the fact it's set years after the movie, Return to Labyrinth heavily references the movie in sequence, events, and lines. Toby seems far more capable of dealing with the mysterious labyrinth and its whimsical residents far better than his stepsister (who briefly appears) ever did.
In what really became too forced an effort to establish when the book (written twenty years after the movie came out) takes place (set about ten years after the events in the movie), current culture references are interspersed throughout the first couple of chapters. After a while, it just became easier to focus on the artwork, which really did a beautiful job of capturing the Labyrinth and the fantastical puppets that resided there.
I think I was doomed to like this book before I ever opened it. The author worked on the translation of Fruits Basket (my favorite manga/anime), and the artist worked in G. I. Joe Sigma Six (one of my favorite cartoons in recent years. I'm looking forward to reading the second volume.
It's witty, sarcastic, dark. Three of my favorite things.
I had been wanting to read the books for some time when I noticed the show on Sci Fi. Have re...moreIt's witty, sarcastic, dark. Three of my favorite things.
I had been wanting to read the books for some time when I noticed the show on Sci Fi. Have read one of the books, the show now makes more sense, and is more entertaining (even if Murphy isn't quite right).(less)
Several months ago, I made the mistake of loaning Elantris to a friend. We were wandering through a bookstore some time later (he hadn’t even started...moreSeveral months ago, I made the mistake of loaning Elantris to a friend. We were wandering through a bookstore some time later (he hadn’t even started reading Elantris yet because it was apparently too hard to make time in his busy WoW schedule for reading), and I pointed out Mistborn, which was newly released at that point.
I’d ended up with Elantris under cute, but odd, circumstances. I ended up reading Mistborn under even stranger circumstances. Knowing how much I want Mistborn, said friend read through Elantris, and then purchased Mistborn and read it. (Yes, I have some very odd friends.) At least he was kind enough to loan it to me (he very nearly didn’t get it back because I was so annoyed with him).
Mistborn is Brandon Sanderson’s second fantasy novel, and it’s as wonderful as his first. It’s not set in the same world as Elantris, but he constructs this new setting incredibly well. Mistborn is set in a region controlled by a god-like man called the Lord Ruler. Color no longer exists in the world. A large portion of the population is enslaved, their breeding controlled. Any slave used by the nobility for sex is killed immediately to prevent any cross-breeding between the classes. That last bit is necessary because certain members of the nobility have the ability to use metal to commit what amounts to magic, and the only way to pass on the abilities is to sire a child. The Lord Ruler doesn’t want the slaves acquiring the abilities, so he controls their breeding.
The reader follows a slave of mixed parentage through her crew, to being rescued by a fellow half-breed, to being trained in her abilities and helping to start a rebellion. Her mentor is reckless, but lovable. The crew trying to start the rebellion are somewhat standard for this type of setting, but they’re all fairly endearing. The bad guys are almost too overdone to actually be scary, though.
The coolest part about Mistborn is the magic system. We’re so used to a certain method of unexplainable magic in fantasy novels and movies. Hardly anyone tries to bring any sense to it because it’s “magic”. Sanderson, however, created a clever magic system that he explains throughout the book. Magic in his world works through the ingesting of metal. There are four main pairs of metals and a special pair beyond that. There is also one metal without a balance. The metal pairings are based in science, and their effects are opposite. To be able to use that metal’s ability (if you are capable of using it), you ingest flakes of it and then burn them to use your ability.
There are three classes of magic users: Mistings, Mistborns, and Feruchemists. Mistings can only work with one of the metal and are given a nickname related to that metal. Mistborns can use all of the metals and get to wear special cloaks that conceal their movements at night when mists move in around the towns. Feruchemists aren’t covered particularly well as it was one race that was Feruchemists, and they’ve been hunted nearly to extinction. Feruchemists can do interesting things with their metal, like store memories. I’m hoping we get to learn more about the Feruchemists in the next two books in the series.
Oh, and then there’s a bit of journal at the beginning of each chapter, very reminiscent of Salvatore’s Drizzt. Just try to figure out which character is writing it before Sanderson tells you! (I did, actually, but it wasn’t easy.)(less)
I didn’t quite realize how much reading I was doing lately until I glanced over the site this morning, and realized my last several posts have mostly...moreI didn’t quite realize how much reading I was doing lately until I glanced over the site this morning, and realized my last several posts have mostly been book reviews. They’ve started overshadowing everything else. I can’t decide if that’s a problem, but honestly all I’m doing these days is read, writing, or editing books while listening to anime for voice actors. And if I’m not doing that, then I’m breaking Guitar Hero II and dreaming up yet another wild story idea. (And if I’m not doing either of those, then I’m choking on one of half a dozen graphic design or equation editor programs trying to create images and equations for the Dead Bunny blog.) Maybe it is becoming a problem.
Anyway, I just finished Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. Definitely worth the read. The main character Cayce is a riot. Her ever-useful character flaw is that she cannot be in the same room as most trademarks or labels. She’s allergic to them. To try to keep herself calm when confronted by them, she repeats a mantra that is really just part of a story she had been told about a pilot who ran into a duck. Not bad for someone whose job is to react to logos, and to talk up products in clubs. With all of this going on, she hops across continents trying to find the creator of film footage that has been appearing online, partially for herself and her footage-loving friends, and partly for a company that believes the footage is a brilliant viral marketing campaign, even if no one can figure out what the product being marketed is.
It’s an interesting read, especially in light of recent activities like YouTube (home of lonelygirl15) and alternate reality games (ARGs). In fact, I had read somewhere that the story was an ARG, but it honestly doesn’t fit that criteria. No one ever really seems to know everything that’s going on; there aren’t master plot points to be hit. (Cayce does a great job of running within her job description and outside it at the same time, though.) By the end, it turns out there really isn’t much of a viral marketing bent either, but that storyline is interesting to watch, especially given Cayce’s aversion to omnipresent marketing (logos, trademarks, etc.)(less)