There are almost no authors I wait on. George Martin is one, Peter Brett another. I'm hooked on these books. They're the fun, exciting, imaginative fa...moreThere are almost no authors I wait on. George Martin is one, Peter Brett another. I'm hooked on these books. They're the fun, exciting, imaginative fantasy I used to love way back in the 80s, but written for the new milenium with all the additional sharpness and insights that entails.
Brett combines a wonderful idea - the particular combination of 'bad guys' and magic that drives the series - with great characterisation across a broad cast.
To deliver literary punches, to write scenes where we care who lives and who dies, takes time. Time to wind up for the blow. Time to put lives behind those name-tags, time to make the solutions to problems meaningful rather than arbitrary. Fortunately it's time well spent. I found the Inervera back-story absorbing both in its own right and for the second perspective it offered on events in Desert Spear. I am not a person who believes there's a 'now' in storyland and that unless we're moving the plot forward in the 'now' then nothing is happening. If the story of Inervera's initiation into the disciplines of her craft is well told (and it was) that's as interesting to me as the 'now' at Cutters' Hollow and the coming attacks. I don't see one as more valid and important as the other.
It is true that the timeline doesn't advance a great many days past the point reached in Desert Spear. However an enormous amount is learned in that space of days, a hell of a lot of stuff blows up, ichor and blood splatter the page, and a good time is had by all... kinda. Well, by this reader at the very least.
Insert: Having had a chance to see reaction to this book over the past 6 months I have this to add. I've seen quite a few negative reactions to The Daylight War on forums/blogs. This seems to be part of how stuff works. By the time a series is getting established it's often only the people who are upset by the turn of events who bother to register their opinions. I could say the same about George Martin's A Dance With Dragons for example - but both The Daylight War and A Dance With Dragons have thousands of ratings on Goodreads and average scores of 4.20 and 4.21 respectively... so it seems that the bulk of readers are enjoying them a lot and not saying much!
For me these were three quite different books, and that can always cause problems in terms of reader expectations.
The Warded Man: A book of discovery - new world, new enemies, new magic, new characters.
The Desert Spear: Exploring a new point of view and setting up the human vs human conflict.
The Daylight War: Really focused on the characters. One might call it soap opera - but that's not a bad thing if it means putting characters we love through their paces - exploring the relationships, putting them under stress and seeing what happened.
So, yes, The Daylight War delivered like a... deliverer. I got my new information, I got my development of the demon world and the daylight world. I got my fix of the main cast and a collection of new faces. I got my mass battles, touching moments, tension, fun... I'm a happy camper. Just need the next book now.
I'd read a couple of sniffy reviews about this book and a friend was very meh about it ... even Weeks himself seemed a touch apologetic about his debu...moreI'd read a couple of sniffy reviews about this book and a friend was very meh about it ... even Weeks himself seemed a touch apologetic about his debut when he saw my tweet about starting it ... though I could be over-reading 140 characters there. In any event, my expectations were not sky high.
It turns out that I tend to like what people tend to like ... who knew? I don't enjoy every popular book but I do generally find out that there's a good reason why they're popular.
Brent Weeks is a great story teller and his writing is plenty strong enough to carry the load. I call the book fun, and it is, but that's not to diminish it in any way. There are plenty of emotional scenes and even though I could see the strings being pulled, I still got drawn in. There's as much action as any reader could want, varied and interesting magic, tight plotting from a good number of interesting points of view. The pacing is good and there are few info dumps. I could perhaps have stood fewer discussions on the city's varied architecture but that's the very minor niggle on the back of a great deal of enjoyment.
And that friend of mine who wasn't a fan - she wasn't a fan of The Warded Man either, which I loved, and I have to say that this is probably the most enjoyable read I've had since devouring Brett's The Warded Man several years ago. Like that book TWoS takes what I loved about 80's fantasy and grows it up for the more demanding, hard-edged tastes of today. Definitely recommended.
Perhaps the book benefited from me having a rare day to myself and reading most of it in one go. Then again I could have done a lot of other things with that day ... and Weeks' story didn't let me! (less)
Expand your mind! Not for the faint of heart & yet by no means dry.
Hofstadter makes some fascinating observations about emergent properties (such...moreExpand your mind! Not for the faint of heart & yet by no means dry.
Hofstadter makes some fascinating observations about emergent properties (such as intelligence) and diverts us into the extremely heavy mathematics of Godel via the self referencing systems that are Bach's fugues and Escher's 'optical illusion' style artwork.
Before too many chapters have passed though you'll be firmly in number theory land, albeit doled out as painlessly as is possible with such stuff, leavened with imagined philosophical debates between ancient Greeks and other proxies. I seem to remember Achilles spends a lot of time talking to a tortoise...
Number theory requires no great resource of mathematical knowledge - just an extremely agile and open mind. If you let him Hofstadter will show you how Godel destroyed Betrand Russell's Principa Mathematica - his attempt to logically deduce all of mathematics from a set of axioms. Godel shows us that (I paraphrase drastically) that all logical systems allow statements about natural numbers that are true but unprovable within the system.
And somehow this isn't even what the book's about...
As the pages turn you will be steadily more tested and at some point it will become apparent you've not been paying close enough attention. However, even without taking pen to paper and labouring through the instructive exercises you can get a pretty decent glimpse at some exciting and fundamental thinking. (less)