I've read a lot of reviews of your books, and as an author myself I fully understand thOkay, look here, Peter V. Brett.
Stop it. Just stop. Seriously.
I've read a lot of reviews of your books, and as an author myself I fully understand the concept that reading is a subjective experience. So I'm not going to pick apart any of the less stellar reviews I may disagree with.
I've been an author for a handful of years, a reader since I was three. I learned early. So this time around (I've reviewed your books in a couple places before) I'm going to give you my thoughts as an author.
Are you fucking kidding me?
I mean, jeez. I know we're supposed to get better with each book, but you're making me look pretty bad over here. I don't know if you're practicing some kind of sorcery, but much the way film critics can never not see a movie in a critical light even when viewing for pleasure, neither can I read a book without automatically dissecting it.
Except that process had little to grab onto this time. Oh, there were a couple things. I wasn't thrilled about the middle 50% focusing so much on Angiers, and I hated to see some interesting characters die (OR DID THEY OMG BOOK FIVE COME ON EXIST ALREADY DAMN IT) but these are piddly things. Certainly nothing I would even halfway suggest changing, both because they're personal preference on my part and because doing so would likely have changed the entire flow of the story, lessening the impact.
While I may have been a tad bothered that so much focus was on Leesha and Rojer, by the end I totally got it. Well played, sir.
That's really the only structural thing. The only technical thing.
Everything else was awesome.
So again, I repeat: stop it. You're making the rest of us look bad.
Your characterizations were almost perfect. The few tiny burrs were mere hiccups, things that resolved themselves a few pages later. There were too many remarkable examples of clever and perfect phrasing for me to pick examples, but the dialog in this book was more natural and flowing than any of your previous works.
You made me care about secondary, even tertiary characters. You weren't afraid to add in POV chapters for characters as needed, giving them one or two because it served the story. I'm doing that with the book I'm currently writing, and reading The Skull Throne today only solidified my belief that it can work well.
Yeah, I read it in a day. Not a working day, mind you. I got home from an appointment early this morning and did nothing else all day. I even read while I cooked. Total reading time: 14 hours. I read fast, and you'll probably get a jolly laugh knowing I accomplished no work of my own.
I consider it a day well spent.
Reading fiction has been a part of my daily routine for as long as I can remember. Truly good fiction is a bonus, and sometimes hard to find. That's the stuff I can't put down. The sort of book I ignore responsibilities for.
The rarest experience is finding a book that pushes me in my own writing, one which inspires new ideas and effort. You did that. No reader (or writer) could ask for more. Time and money very well spent.
I'm with Patrick Rothfuss: Butcher is probably my favorite author right now. Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson are reeeaaaaalllllyyy close behind him.
AsI'm with Patrick Rothfuss: Butcher is probably my favorite author right now. Rothfuss and Brandon Sanderson are reeeaaaaalllllyyy close behind him.
As a reader, I really enjoyed this book. I got it on my Kindle right at midnight, and dove in meaning to read a few chapters before going to sleep.
Read the whole book in one go. I REGRET NOTHING.
Among my friends who also read this series, there has been a general attitude of "Changes was the high point, and since then they haven't been as good."
I disagree. Changes had a lot going on, and it was amazing, but it broke the formula. Everything since then has been different, new, and frankly astounding. This book in particular struck me as probably the best thing Jim Butcher has ever written.
The balance between elements was perfect. The blending of the premise--a supernatural heist--with the larger arc of Harry's story was masterful. I didn't get irritated that Murphy was being too...well, Murphy. I didn't bash my head into a wall because Harry was being WAY too Harry. By that I mean the characterization blew me away. I saw the cast, all of the cast from Harry to Nicodemus, as fully rounded people more than any book before it.
As an author myself, this is good. It's frustrating, because I don't think I'll ever be in Butcher's league, but that's okay. He's the far end of the bell curve, a standout among standouts. His deft hand at marrying plot, characters, and the meta-plot of the series while pacing things out almost flawlessly is rare. Very few people can do that.
I look at him, and this book, as a goal to reach for. I only judge my work against my own work, but that doesn't mean I can't use Skin Game as a guide on how a good story is done right.
I can't tell you how perfect many parts of this book were without spoilers, but I laughed (as always) many times. I fought tears more than once. I genuinely worried for characters through nearly the entire thing. I got to see my favorite character come back for one last hurrah, and it did not disappoint.
Congratulations, Jim Butcher. You've made something special. ...more
I'm writing this review with a disclaimer: I'm an author. I'm not well-known or super popular, and I consider Sanderson one of my heroes right there wI'm writing this review with a disclaimer: I'm an author. I'm not well-known or super popular, and I consider Sanderson one of my heroes right there with Rothfuss, Butcher, and Pratchett. I'm putting this out there for full disclosure.
This review will be quasi-spoilery. I won't get into specific events, but will reference themes and ideas. Be warned.
The Prose. I mean, let's start there. A lot of people are complaining in reviews about sections of the book and dialog that come really close to modern American speech. There are parts that kind of rub me the wrong way, but overall I like it. It's really easy to miss the carefully constructed contrast between the more relaxed dialog and the obscenely good narrative. More so than any Sanderson book I've read--and I've now read all of them, I think--Words of Radiance manages to convey the personality of the point of view character in the narrative in subtle but easily-flowing ways. Maybe it's something I noticed more from professional appreciation, but it's there. Take out the dialog and you could still tell a Kaladin section from a Dalinar section by sheer style alone.
The worldbuilding continues to be top-notch. There are a few instances of repetition, where the author tries to make it clear you need to remember a particular fact, but they're mostly easy to miss or fit in with the writing well enough that you won't think twice about them. Though revelations about the world of Roshar throughout the book are thin on the ground, the buildup toward the end is, after a read-through and a light reread, masterful. I've reread the final 10% of the book five times already. It's that good, that revelatory.
Taken as a whole, Words of Radiance is an 'I see what you did there' experience. I worried in some parts that Sanderson was rehashing the same themes and even the same stories from the first book, but by the end--which moves the larger arc of the series MUCH further forward than I'd have expected--it makes sense. Specifically, I'm referring to Kaladin's arc in this book. I felt here and there that Sanderson was being lazy in retreading things about Kal already extensively dealt with in The Way of Kings, but I was wrong. What he was doing was showing the imperfection of the hero, that Kal can stumble and that the path to being better is one we must always walk on and one that has no end.
I gave this book five stars because, days after I finished my first reading, I'm having a hard time not just rereading it constantly. That's the hallmark of an amazing piece of art.
Still, there are a few things that bother me.
These are really small things and mostly specific to me, so take them with a grain of salt and don't pelt me with hate mail.
Like George R. R. Martin (though to nowhere near the same degree), Sanderson does have a tendency to reuse certain phrases and themes quite a lot. For the most part it's not bad or that noticeable, but variations of the saying 'wearing our parent's clothes' stands out almost as much as Martin's zealous overuse of 'search my pockets' from A Song of Ice and Fire. That's probably just a thing that bothers me, but I put it here because I noticed it.
I don't know if this is a con or not, but my intense hope from here out is that Sanderson allows Shallan to grow as a character. My least favorite chapters from both books in this series have dealt with her. Which is crazy, because I love her as a character. She's brilliant, funny, a little broken, and has a depth that many other male authors would kill to have in their female POV characters.
I think the thing that bothers me is that her character is almost too realistic. Her outward bravado and wit acting as a cover for a deeper sadness and lack of confidence are a key part of her character, but the pacing of her chapters tend to reflect that. Shallan in the second half of WOR is a much more dynamic and interesting character than at any point in TWOK (except for the end) and the first half of WOR. I'm hopeful the changes she goes through in this book will resolve themselves into POV chapters down the road that flow faster and better.
On a purely technical level, I think the size and scope of this book made a truly deep language edit impossible. By that I mean a line-by-line content edit for style. I can't imagine tackling a book this large and wide, and my hat is off to Brandon and his team. There were a dozen or so sentences or paragraphs I came across that were clumsy and could have been reduced to better forms.
You might be saying, 'A dozen in a book more than a thousand pages long? That doesn't seem like many!'
And you'd be right. I agree. The fact that a few handfuls of (slightly) less than stellar phrasing are used is one hell of an accomplishment in books a third this size, much less a giant beast like Words of Radiance. The author and his team should get a standing ovation.
As I said, five stars. But for these few things, I can't imagine it being a better book. While the pacing felt slow to me through the first half, that's almost certainly because of my weird resistance to the Shallan chapters, which were heavy in that part of the book. Words of Radiance is a stellar piece of writing, probably the best work Brandon Sanderson has produced. My hat is off to him. ...more
As an author myself, I wanted to be jealous of this book. It's so good, the experience skipped that urge and went straight to awe. There's a lot goingAs an author myself, I wanted to be jealous of this book. It's so good, the experience skipped that urge and went straight to awe. There's a lot going on in Ready Player One, more than I would have expected from the excerpts I read a few months ago.
This book is magnificent. It manages to be a critique of--and a love story to--popular culture. Cline perfectly captures exactly why we love interacting online and how dangerous it can be. At the same time he tells a coming of age tale about an obsessive geek, a love story, a fight-against-the-man thriller, and even throw in critiques about politics, environmental policy, the energy crisis, and many other real-world concerns. The deftness with which he weaves every fiber of this story together is doubly amazing for the fact that this is his first book.
There were a few small snags here and there, really tiny stylistic rough spots. I can count them on one hand but not name them; that's a good thing. They were unmemorable past reading them, word choices that seemed redundant or out of place. When that's the biggest complaint a person has about your novel, you can pat yourself on the back. You've done a hell of a job.
In one sense, this book is about nostalgia. In another, it's about the future. From top to bottom, beginning to end, it's also a geek's dream. When you live in a universe populated by every fantasy world ever created, with every item and power-up recreated in loving detail, there is no end to the wonder you can see, even participate in.
More than anything else, that was what made this book perfect for me. The idea that a virtual space evens the playing field, and that even a nerd like me could find a way not just to be a hero, but to become an icon. This is captured perfectly in a later scene: a character is flying his giant robot toward certain death, but takes a minute to feel pride as thousands of people send him messages asking where he got that sweet ride. If ever the concept of geek obsession was turned around to make *us* the heroes, it was in this book.
Bravo, Mr. Cline. This is in my top five favorite reads of all time. ...more
A powerful and unconventional love story whose humor and meticulously crafted prose were almost enough to cover the several instances where the ultra-A powerful and unconventional love story whose humor and meticulously crafted prose were almost enough to cover the several instances where the ultra-realistic tone was harshly broken by completely ridiculous circumstances. Overall I deeply enjoyed the book, but those few instances where plot overtook story keep me from giving it five stars.
I gave this book four stars for several reasons. First I'm going to start with why I didn't give it five.
The writing is good, but the editing could hI gave this book four stars for several reasons. First I'm going to start with why I didn't give it five.
The writing is good, but the editing could have been better. I know it's a nitpicky thing, but as a writer myself I cherish those times people point out how to smooth the words. Chu is a very talented author--I couldn't stop reading this book even though I had things to do--and his talent shows through in a lot of places. No book is perfect, however, and all writers make similar errors. There were several places in this book that could have used another edit, some fine tuning and smoothing, but they weren't terrible. Just little burrs in an otherwise captivating experience.
Aside from that, this is a damn good book. The premise is great, the characters are mostly believable and have depth, though the main villain is, toward the end, very over-the-top in comparison with the rest of the cast. The relationship between Roen and Tao is brilliantly written and I laughed out loud at several points. Chu manages to pull together a lot of story elements that are a very difficult set of knives to juggle and does it seamlessly. I'd have a hard time trying to work the sci/fi aspects together with a love story, a critique of modern society, and the ten other themes he manages to handle at once. That Chu does it so effortlessly is a testament to his dedication and ability.
Aside from the gripes above, I'm very happy to have bought and read this book. This is a promising debut novel. If Chu is starting his career being this good, I can only imagine the quality of his future works.
I've just finished reading the entire series so far. I re-read the first three books before moving on to the last three, and what strikes me most abouI've just finished reading the entire series so far. I re-read the first three books before moving on to the last three, and what strikes me most about this, the first book, is the subtle way Abercrombie sets up the rest of the series. I know that many people who've read The Blade Itself will twitch as the use of the word 'subtle' here, but it's true. Books are art just as much as any painting, and subject to interpretation.
This book is amazing. Logen Ninefingers may not go down as one of the best characters in literary history, but he should. Glokta, Bayaz, even Jezal--all of them are well-rounded and interesting no matter how repulsive their actions. Having just read the entire series it's hard not to comment on how things evolve down the road. But this book is only a prelude to greater and bloodier times, testing these fascinating people. I can't stress enough that the trilogy Abercrombie started with this book is one of my all-time favorites, and the competition there is heavy. It's worth a read even if you're offended by the content. Hell, *especially* then.
This is high fantasy brought low. There is no sunshine here, no optimism that the day will be saved and everyone's dreams will come true. This is the dirty, dark underbelly of fantasy. Where power corrupts and, to quote Logen himself, blood only brings more blood. You've been warned. Now, go enjoy it. ...more
I'm terribly bad about getting on Goodreads and actually marking books I've read and giving reviews to them. I'm a writer. I should really be making mI'm terribly bad about getting on Goodreads and actually marking books I've read and giving reviews to them. I'm a writer. I should really be making more of an effort to do this.
So when I read the estimable Patrick Rothfuss's review of this book, I felt bad. Alloy of Law is a great book and it deserves as much love as the readership can give it.
AoL is excellent in almost every way. As a Sanderson fan I can say that for my money this is actually a better book than the Mistborn novels that come before it. The reason is simple--Sanderson has grown in depth and breadth as an author. His storytelling skills are sharp and strong, and he didn't have to focus so much on making sense of the magic system here.
Instead, he did something pretty much no fantasy author does, ever. He evolved his world in time and technology, bringing Scadrial to a point somewhere close to an industrial revolution.
The flavor of the world is just as bold and unique, though. The characters are layered and real, the plot and politics within interesting and reasonable. For a world where technology and magic operate happily together, Alloy of Law is surprisingly believable.
This isn't a good book: it's a great one. Even more so for the fact that Brandon wrote it while working on other projects (at least two at last count) and didn't even plan for this to be a novel at all. It's a sign of a damn good writer when a novella-length thought experiment on how you'd like to shape and change a world you've created just morphs into a full-length novel. Kudos, Mr. Sanderson. You've succeeded in making the rest of us insanely jealous of your talents.
Five Stars of five, but only because I can't give it six. ...more
Dark and flowing as a river of cooling lava, this story will get its hooks into you and won't let you go. Lori wrote it for my Year One collection ofDark and flowing as a river of cooling lava, this story will get its hooks into you and won't let you go. Lori wrote it for my Year One collection of Living With the Dead, but she took a grain of an idea and made it visceral, personal, and sadly moving.
It isn't often that a short story or novella interests me, much less moves me all across the spectrum of human emotion. This one does it, and with a force that surprised me. You won't like some of the things that happen inside, but that's the point--to show us just how dark the human heart can get, and how strong it can be in its endurance.