Here's the obligatory warning that I'm in love with these books and they can do no wrong in my eyes.
All of the previous books in the Emperor’s Edge se...moreHere's the obligatory warning that I'm in love with these books and they can do no wrong in my eyes.
All of the previous books in the Emperor’s Edge series have been leading up to this book, in a way. The lines of the Forge storyline become completely clear, and by the end of the book it is understood that the events to follow will forever change the world of the Emperor’s Edge books.
We get some strong development between Sicarius and Amaranthe, plus we get more of Sicarius, Amaranthe and Sespian together for extended periods of time. (view spoiler)[And the truth about Sicarius and Sespian’s relationship finally is revealed! (hide spoiler)]
There are very few love triangles that I can actually stand (let alone like), but the one between Sespian, Amaranthe and Sicarius is one that I actually enjoyed reading and was a little torn up over. (Another was between Jonathan, Alanna and George in Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartetSong of the Lioness quartet.)
It’s clear that the story isn’t done, but Blood and Betrayal isn’t as much of a cliffhanger as the previous book. There’s more that has to happen, but the book tied up most of what started in Conspiracy(view spoiler)[with Sespian getting to do the spying he wanted the team to kidnap him for, the team being reunited and all secrets revealed (hide spoiler)].
In order to hold myself over until Forged in Blood comes out (2013!) I’ll be moving on to Encrypted, which apparently deals with the mysterious alien technology that shows up in both Conspiracy and Blood and Betrayal.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
What you should know going into this review, is that I am unabashedly in love with these books.
In a way I sort of dreaded this book because it was the...moreWhat you should know going into this review, is that I am unabashedly in love with these books.
In a way I sort of dreaded this book because it was the one where we get Akstyr’s POV, and he’s always rubbed me the wrong way. As the one member of the group who has always looked out for himself more than the others, I felt like Akstyr was going to harsh my good vibes about the Emperor’s Edge group.
You know it’s the mark of a good author and storyteller when a book focusing on a character you don’t particularly care for is just as enjoyable (possibly more so) than the rest of the series. Buroker had a stroke of genius when she decided to use Akstyr’s POV in a book with the most interesting (so far) storyline.
In this book, the story that began at the end of the previous one (view spoiler)[(Sespian contacting the group to be kidnapped) (hide spoiler)] comes to fruition. Sespian, that kind, young emperor with a bit of a crush on Amaranthe, finally comes back into the picture for an extended time. No longer being drugged into submission, we finally get to see Sespian as he really is.
Of course, nothing goes as planned, and the group discovers that Forge is even more formidable than they initially estimated.
What I really wasn’t expecting was for this book to end with such a cliffhanger. Because Conspiracy is really the first part of this story arc. While the previous three Emperor’s Edge books can stand alone, Conspiracy cannot. In order to finish the story started here, you need to move onto Blood and Betrayal. Which I’m doing right now!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This is such a fascinating story and really aptly portrays how even the best of intentions can go wildly astray. There's so much present in this short...moreThis is such a fascinating story and really aptly portrays how even the best of intentions can go wildly astray. There's so much present in this short novel: a down-on-his-luck hero, love, a sick child, a world in peril, a harsh ruling class and a sneaky and crafty villain to despise.
And while the story is finished nicely, I can't help but wish there was more to the characters' stories after the last page. I'm definitely reading the other book in this world (The Executioness).(less)
In the year 2039 the creator of the world’s largest interactive online simulation, OASIS, dies a very rich man. However, he has named no heirs to his...moreIn the year 2039 the creator of the world’s largest interactive online simulation, OASIS, dies a very rich man. However, he has named no heirs to his fortune. Instead, in his video will, he sets a task to the people of the world. There is an Easter egg hidden somewhere within the vast universes of OASIS. In order to find it, players must find three keys and three gates. He leaves a clue to the first key and immediately a frenzy begins as the winner stands inherit not only OASIS, but the hundreds of billions of dollars the man had. For five years no one can even find the first key, until high school student Wade Watts gets very, very lucky, triggering a frantic race.
Throughout the book of Ready Player One readers are able to experience the vast, intricate and odd world of OASIS, a place both wonderful (there’s a Whedonverse!) and unreal. But at the same time we are introduced to an Earth that is a dismal place, ravaged by wars, with high unemployment, incredible numbers of homeless and a money-grubbing evil corporation, people are escaping into OASIS more and more simply so they don’t have to face reality.
Ernest Cline has managed to create two very interesting and unique worlds, and the clues and the hints the egg hunters (or “gunters”) are given to find the keys and gates are detailed and interesting. The journey through OASIS, the race against other gunters, Wade’s realizations about the world, and the antagonist of the evil corporation IOI all combine for a great read.
However, this book had some pretty big flaws, the main one being pacing. The middle of the book is a real killer. There is a lull between passing the first gate and finding the second key. Wade falls into a funk, he’s depressed, he’s wasting time, he can’t concentrate on the game and overall I lost interest a little myself. Then the pace picks up frantically as after the second key is found, the second gate is quickly passed and the third key is found even faster. It seemed very uneven to me.
Another thing is the ’80s references. OASIS’s creator loved the ’80s because he was a teenager then, so he makes all sorts of references to games and shows and music of that time in a journal he left behind. As a result, the world becomes obsessed with old games like Adventure, television shows like Schoolhouse Rock and bands like Rush, believing, correctly, that knowledge of his obsessions would help them find the Easter egg. I always find making references to current or past pop culture a cop out. In this book it make sense, it really does, in order for the gunters to figure out the keys, but I quickly got ’80s fatigue at all the name dropping and references and factoids. Technologically, the world in which Ready Player One takes place has progressed, but it stymied culturally, never advancing and in fact actually backtracking to, of all decades, the ’80s.
The book raises the interesting concept that, like the Internet, you could be anyone in OASIS. So I enjoyed learning a little more about the people behind the avatars. (view spoiler)[Although it was disappointing that the person we learn the least about was Art3mis. We get very interesting back stories with Shoto and Aech, but Art3mis, the love interest, never really gets developed much. When they meet the focus is on the mark on her face, to prove the point that physical appearance doesn’t matter to Wade, he fell in love with her long ago in OASIS. But we don’t get any background on her. She’s a college student who lives in Canada. That’s about it. Whereas Shoto explains his backstory with Daito, how they met and why they felt like they were brothers. Aech explains her troubles with her mother and why she chose to be a Caucasian male in OASIS despite being a black female in real life. (hide spoiler)]
Ready Player One was a unique and interesting read with a few issues that didn’t detract too much from the overall story.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Whenever I finish one of the Emperor's Edge books I have this urge to grab random people on the street, shake them and demand to know why they haven't...moreWhenever I finish one of the Emperor's Edge books I have this urge to grab random people on the street, shake them and demand to know why they haven't read them yet. I honestly can't praise the author, these books and these characters enough. And as much as I enjoyed the first two, I think this one was the best. And based on the epilogue, the story is just going to continue getting better.(less)
This book blew me away and having finished it and run the gauntlet with the characters I am exhausted. I am in absolute awe how everything - and I do...moreThis book blew me away and having finished it and run the gauntlet with the characters I am exhausted. I am in absolute awe how everything - and I do mean everything - that had been mentioned in previous books all tied together for the grand finale. It's amazing and I can't think properly and I think I just need to sleep on it so I can better appreciate how well crafted this trilogy was.
There are few words for how much I have enjoyed reading the first two Mistborn books. There’s something about the characters that feel so real to me....moreThere are few words for how much I have enjoyed reading the first two Mistborn books. There’s something about the characters that feel so real to me. I think the first book was an easier read mostly because this one has a lot of politics and there are multiple factions to follow and keep track of. And yet, even while being in a fantasy world, filled with magic and creatures, there is something very real about the struggles and the conflicts.
And the climax of this novel was insane. There is so much going on, and we get points of views from so many different characters, and yet it was all easy to follow. The first book was primarily (or exclusively, I can’t remember) told through Kelsier and Vin. In this book we get chapters from just about every main character.
Loved this book, loved how the characters grew and all were explored a little more, and even the battles. I often find battles boring to read because I’d much rather just watch it, but I loved reading these fights.
Considering how this second one ended, I can’t wait to see how it all gets resolved in the next book. (less)
It's still safe to say that this book is better than most, but it doesn't stand up to the first three books for me even, though it's better than AFfC....moreIt's still safe to say that this book is better than most, but it doesn't stand up to the first three books for me even, though it's better than AFfC. My biggest issue with this book is that GRRM has continued to expand the story by adding more POVs. He's added even more facets to this already chaotic story (view spoiler)[as cool as the reveal was that Aegon, one of Rhaegar's children, is actually alive, it meant that there's another ball for GRRM to juggle (hide spoiler)] and I really don't see, based on his writing over the five novels, how GRRM can tie this all up in two novels.
And although he said at the end of AFfC that he split that novel and this one the way he did because he wanted to tell the whole story for some of the characters rather than just part of the story for all of the characters, I felt like a lot of characters were most definitely only partial stories or left so open ended at the end of novel so as to be unsatisfying (view spoiler)[I'm looking at you, Arya. And where was Sansa? And WHAT HAPPENED WITH JON SNOW? Is he dead? If yes, then that was the most unsatisfactory end for a main character and I'm really pissed. And what's up with Jaime and Brienne? He follows her off in the middle of the book and that's all we get. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Yeah, I loved this one. Somehow, it’s even better than the first one. The characters get explored a little more, and I’ve decided that I want to perso...moreYeah, I loved this one. Somehow, it’s even better than the first one. The characters get explored a little more, and I’ve decided that I want to personally know each and every one of the team. They might all be wanted criminals and some have trying personalities, but their interactions with one another are so great and believable, that I want to be part of that team. Basilard doesn’t even speak yet I always enjoyed his interactions with Akstyr. I’m a sucker for good relationship building. In the first book, Maldynado = Finnick from The Hunger Games, for me. By the end of this book, that’s not really the case anymore. He’s now separated in my mind from Finnick (not that I ever had a problem with it, because I loved Finnick).
Buroker does something different with the storytelling in this book. While The Emperor’s Edge mainly focuses on Amaranthe (with occasional Sespian chapters), in Dark Currents, she splits the book between Amaranthe and Books. She has said that each book she writes in the series will use a member of the Emperor’s Edge team as the secondary character to Amaranthe’s chapters. I love this concept. There’s no denying that Amaranthe is the main character, but this will allow all of the others to become fully fleshed. I can’t wait to see what Maldynado’s chapters will be like. I’m interested to see what goes on Sicarius’ head, but I have a feeling that might be saved for last. But Basilard is next, and considering what we learn about him (and Sicarius) in this book, I think that makes sense.
My only complaint plotwise, is that the final confrontation with Amaranthe and the giant, dangerous beasts, is a little like the one at the end of the first book. Where Amaranthe is the bait and she has to lure the beasts to where Maldynado is waiting with a contraption to take them down.
And the biggest disappointment for me (but it didn’t detract at all from my enjoyment of the book. It was just something that I thought about afterward) was that Sespian doesn’t show up at all in this book. Although, I did enjoy that there was a rather serious conversation between Sicarius and Amaranthe about the fact that the emperor clearly has a puppy dog crush on her and he’ll always hate and distrust Sicarius. It’s something that needs to be addressed. (view spoiler)[I want Sicarius and Amaranthe to get together, but I wondered throughout the book about how it would work. Morally, I mean. Sicarius is trying to make a good impression on his son. Getting together with the girl your son likes and then expecting him to be happy to see you is not a good plan. I’m glad this was brought up by Sicarius. In most love triangles the two men don’t like each other very much. They’re usually enemies or they were just never friends. In this book, they are enemies, but not from Sicarius’ perspective. That’s his freaking son(hide spoiler)].
There are supposed to be six books total in this series. Next one, please!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
For me, Interworld is to Neil Gaiman's body of work what Cars is to Pixar's body of work. Perhaps it's a pretty decent book, but I have such high hope...moreFor me, Interworld is to Neil Gaiman's body of work what Cars is to Pixar's body of work. Perhaps it's a pretty decent book, but I have such high hopes for anything Gaiman that I read, that this was a huge disappointment.
While the idea for Interworld is interesting, I think it suffers because it was written for younger readers and so Gaiman's writing is stifled. This world (or worlds, I suppose) could have been really deeply explored and the story expanded. As it is now, Interworld feels rushed and unfinished.
And the way it's told is a letdown. I felt like Joey was telling me the story after the fact. I didn't ever feel like I was being swept up in the storytelling.(less)
Let me preface my review by saying that this book, when not comparing it to the previous books in ASoIaF, is a good book. That being said, in comparis...moreLet me preface my review by saying that this book, when not comparing it to the previous books in ASoIaF, is a good book. That being said, in comparison to the previous installments of this series, A Feast for Crows is disappointing in places and overall very frustrating. That is why I gave it a 3 stars (and am contemplating dropping it to 2 stars actually).
This book has a fairly large flaw, which is that it reads more like a really long, annoying interlude to the story that you actually want to read. Remember all those characters you loved in the first three books? Well you'll be lucky to see them even three times in over 900 pages. Instead, you get a plethora of chapters from new POVs. Of course, at the beginning of the book I wasn't happy to see so many Jaime or Cersei chapters, but as the story went on I did enjoy them more. But there is way to much of the Greyjoys. I think that is a plotline Martin never should have allowed to grow so large. And that right there is really the main problem of this book, to be honest. Martin allowed his story to get out of hand.
Martin has created a fantastically detailed world and a complex struggle with many players. I love that about these books. It's also his downfall in AFfC. He created too much and this book is the result. We are being pulled away from the characters we care most about so he can further expand upon the smaller sideline stories. There was far too much with the Iron Islands, which I would have liked to see entirely cut from the books.
This book was a miscalculation, but it was still an interesting read and I enjoyed watching the characters grow in this book. Right now, this is easily the weakest of all the ASoIaF book. And if that is still true at the end of the series, then there isn't whole lot to complain about. (less)
I just ... this book killed me. Martin has this way of crushing all hope. And I say that with all praise. He doesn't pull any punches and horrible, ho...moreI just ... this book killed me. Martin has this way of crushing all hope. And I say that with all praise. He doesn't pull any punches and horrible, horrible things happen in this book. But that being said, it's not all doom and gloom. There are certain characters that give you hope, especially at the Wall. Those guys are the best. And I love that the characters constantly evolve and change. We see how war makes for strange bedfellows, how people's morals are tested and best of all we see who rises above and who falters.
I'm so glad I have the next book handy. I'm sure I'll devour A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, but I don't know how I'm going to wait once I finish them.
(view spoiler)[I hated Catelyn, so there's no sadness from me there. But I was devastated to see what happened to Robb. And then to hear what they did to his body afterward? That was one of the most horrifying things I read and I both dread and look forward to seeing if they actually show his body with Grey Wind's crowned head sewn on in the show. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
In the second book of A Song of Ice and Fire we get to see some of our characters flourish, while others begin to sink into despair. It's a nice contr...moreIn the second book of A Song of Ice and Fire we get to see some of our characters flourish, while others begin to sink into despair. It's a nice contrast, especially since we have POVs from all sides of the fighting.
One of the interesting things about this book is that because so many of the characters are no where near one another, sometimes we have to rely on the chapter we're currently reading to find out new information. And sometimes that information isn't entirely reliable because it's based on rumors or just flat out lies. So it's interesting to actually get the characters POV without knowing the truth until a chapter or two later.
As a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings books, I went into George R.R. Martin's series with incredibly high hopes. Thankfully, I have yet to be disappointed. These books have everything I loved about LotR - the huge cast, the various points of view, characters whose trustworthiness is unknown, the journey and the character development - but Martin's books have a gritty realism to them that LotR sort of avoided for the most part. Sometimes the grittiness is a little much for me (I get it, everyone wants to rape every woman they ever come across and usually they want to rape each woman multiple times in a humiliating ways).
But to sort of, kind of, not entirely counter the overwhelmingly horrible acts done to women, we have some pretty kickass women (which LotR was sorely lacking with the lone exception of Eowyn), such as Arya, Brienne, Meera, even creeper Theon's sister Asha. Even, loathe as I am to compliment her, Cersei.(less)
There were only three short stories here, but I really enjoyed them because they showed the dozens of smaller jobs Amaranthe and her team take on in a...moreThere were only three short stories here, but I really enjoyed them because they showed the dozens of smaller jobs Amaranthe and her team take on in addition to the huge, complex plots from the novels. Reading this book was sort of like seeing the behind the scenes cuts: the small moments that make up the Emperor's Edge. I do wish there had been some Maldynado, but I was happy to have two Sicarius stories.(less)
There’s nothing like buying a book on a whim and being surprised with just how damn good it is. The Emperor’s Edge has everything I like: well-crafted...moreThere’s nothing like buying a book on a whim and being surprised with just how damn good it is. The Emperor’s Edge has everything I like: well-crafted characters, including a strong female; mystery; conspiracies; a little economics even; dry humor; witty banter; and just the tiniest hint of possible romance (which is exactly how I like my romance, thank you).
Amaranthe Lokdon is one of a few female enforcers in the Empire and she’s incredibly loyal to the emperor, Sespian, and has designs to move up in the ranks. So when she’s offered the chance to take out the assassin Sicarius in order to protect the young emperor, she takes the job. Only problem is she wasn’t meant to succeed. Now that she’s survived the encounter Amaranthe discovers that there are not one but two plots against the emperor afoot and the only people she has to rely on are Sicarius and the ragtag group of men she brings together.
I loved this book. I especially loved seeing the characters evolve. And although short, I think the book was exactly the right length. I liked that the mystery wasn’t dragged out for a painfully long time. And nothing came easy for Amaranthe as she inevitably got in a sticky situation with each one of the guys, but I liked that she was incredibly smart and able to think her way out of every situation.
As for the romance. I suppose one could say there is a love triangle, but not really. Sespian clearly has a crush on her despite having only met her twice, and it’s really sort of cute, almost like when one of your friends’ younger brothers likes you. It was cute, but I didn’t see it happening. Then there’s some tension between Amaranthe and Sicarius. He is the strong, mysterious, silent type that girls often can’t help themselves around, but she manages to keep it professional except for a few times. And no one can ever tell what Sicarius is thinking (or feeling), but I’d be willing to wager that he has slightly fond feelings for her. And the fact that both of these men have feelings for her is just too amusing for words: (view spoiler)[I'm serious, MAJOR spoiler(view spoiler)[father and son both liking the same girl, ha! (hide spoiler)](hide spoiler)]
All-in-all this was such an entertaining read, and a true gem that I accidentally stumbled across.
Really a 4.5 stars, but I enjoyed it so much that I rounded up rather than down. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)