The best part of the book is the fact that Lord Magpyr is aware of every single vampire trope—and is determined to be unaffected by any of them. He inThe best part of the book is the fact that Lord Magpyr is aware of every single vampire trope—and is determined to be unaffected by any of them. He intends to be the first of a new breed of vampire: invulnerable to anything. The main hitch in his plan isn’t the witches. It’s his servant Igor, who thinks that the old ways are the best and that his new master is a disgrace to the memory of the old Lord Magpyr.
This book is a humorous send-up for anyone who’s ever enjoyed a Frankenstein movie, a Buffy episode, or Dracula itself....more
I’d describe this as: “the one where Gytha Ogg and Esme Weatherwax go to Ankh-Morpok and meet the Phantom of the Opera.” I quite enjoyed it. PratchettI’d describe this as: “the one where Gytha Ogg and Esme Weatherwax go to Ankh-Morpok and meet the Phantom of the Opera.” I quite enjoyed it. Pratchett had some great humor around the inherently nonsensical nature of opera. And, of course, it’s great fun to see what happens anytime that Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg interact with unsuspecting innocents....more
This book was better than Shadow's Edge, the previous book in the series. The action moved along at a brisk pace and there was plenty of it. Much moThis book was better than Shadow's Edge, the previous book in the series. The action moved along at a brisk pace and there was plenty of it. Much more action than you normally get in a book of epic fantasy.
The action comes at a cost though. This entire series spent much less time on world building than typical epic fantasy novels do. I think that’s a weakness of this action packed approach. Because it’s epic fantasy, Brent Weeks created a large world with multiple different nations, complex politics, varied religions, and multiple different magic systems.
Weeks spent comparatively little time actually describing how everything worked. I spent a lot of time confused, wondering what was going on and what the significance of certain characters or actions was. Things were unexplained enough that I spent parts of the story wondering if I’d missed a previous book that set things up or if parts of this story were missing.
The story was also prone to sudden bouts of info dumping. Often, it would come as characters suddenly paused and “realized” what had been going on for the past 10 chapters and thought threw a whole chain of events. Or characters would suddenly start explaining things in-depth in a way that rarely felt natural. These info dumps served to inform the reader, but in a way that magnified the story’s flawed structure.
Weeks created characters that I liked and magic systems that were interesting, but I didn’t completely enjoy the books that contained the stories. I read Brent Weeks as an experiment. After concluding the experiment, I’m not sure I’ll be reading more of his books....more
I really enjoyed The Way of Shadows, the first book in this series. I thought it was exciting, fast paced, and a real page turner. I did not feel thI really enjoyed The Way of Shadows, the first book in this series. I thought it was exciting, fast paced, and a real page turner. I did not feel the same way about this book.
I wish I’d been taking notes as I read this book. There were several instances where the dialog was downright pedestrian or things were awkwardly phrased. The pacing felt odd in places. There was a lot less action and a lot more moping around and traveling from place to place. This definitely was not a page turner.
I’m hoping this was just a sophomore slump or a middle book muddle. I’ll be disappointed if The Way of Shadows was the highpoint of this series....more
I put this book on my reading list for 2015 because Brandon Sanderson described Weeks' writing as "epic fantasy novels that read with the pacing of a
I put this book on my reading list for 2015 because Brandon Sanderson described Weeks' writing as "epic fantasy novels that read with the pacing of a thriller". After reading this novel, I can confirm that Sanderson wasn't exaggerating. This book is an absolute page turner, even as Weeks paints a world worthy of epic fantasy.
And it's a gritty, dark, painful world. Pain, viciousness, and brutality are everywhere. Don't spend too much time hoping for things to come up roses for our heroes—no one will make it to the end of the story uninjured. Azoth is a 10-year old member of a criminal street guild, barely able to survive. He wants to become a "wetboy" (an assassin with magical Talent) because he's tired of being afraid and powerless; he wants the security that kind of power can give him. His desired mentor and teacher is Durzo Blint, the best wetboy in Cenaria.
This is the story of how Azoth becomes Kylar Stern, the wetboy that he always wanted to be. He has to make painful decisions about whether or not to have friends and how to protect the people that he cares about, in spite of trying not to care.
This isn't a great story. But it's a good story that's written very well. I read it to see if Weeks was an author that I wanted to follow closely. Given that I read a 659 page novel in 3 days, I think I've got my answer. I'm already looking forward to the next novel in the Night Angel series.
**spoiler alert** Haden’s Syndrome is a flu-like virus with a nasty side effect: one percent of its victims experience “lock in”. They’re fully awake**spoiler alert** Haden’s Syndrome is a flu-like virus with a nasty side effect: one percent of its victims experience “lock in”. They’re fully awake and aware but they’re completely cut off from control of their own bodies. They can no longer speak or move. It is, essentially, a conscious coma.
A whole panoply of technologies were created in reaction to the disease. The locked in are able to interact with the physical world through the use of cybernetic bodies called “threeps”. (In homage to C-3PO.) They’re also able to control the bodies of volunteer Integrators, through neural links.
Lock In is the story of FBI agent Chris Shane’s first week on the job. It’s a nasty first week, as his first case involves the murders of multiple “Hadens” and the suicides of multiple Integrators. As he investigates, he begins to see a common thread weaving everything together.
That grand tapestry is what ruined the book for me. (This is where I spoil the mystery.) The criminal mastermind is that most likely, most stereotypical, of suspects: the corporate billionaire. One man, seeing harsh times ahead as his government subsidies come to an end, decides to keep the profits flowing by any means necessary.
The billionaire’s plan involves committing multiple murders, blowing up a competitor’s research facility, manipulating stock prices to crash multiple competitors, and then buying everyone up to create a near-monopoly. Because, greed. Everyone knows the rich are greedy and will doing anything to keep the wealth coming. Murder and stock market manipulation are common tools of the wealthy elite. One frequently sees it in the news headlines.
I like the set up Scalzi created for this novel. I though Haden’s Syndrome was creative and the various tech created to help the Hadens offered a lot of storytelling potential. But Scalzi decided to waste all of that on a murder mystery with an unintelligent plot.
This is a plot that I expect from the worst of the mass-market action thrillers. This story is science fiction only in that the hero has a robo-body and the villain controls people through neural links rather than blackmail. Without those elements, it’s just another by the numbers murder thriller. Boring....more