Since I didn't know about Goodreads when I first read this book, I decided get the audiobook version and listen to it when...moreReviewed: Janauary 21, 2014
Since I didn't know about Goodreads when I first read this book, I decided get the audiobook version and listen to it when I was out and about.
Being the first book in the series, J.K. Rowling did an excellent job of mixing modern England with a magic system based off thousands of years of human lore. The characters and plot was introduced at an appropriate pace that was approachable by both children and adults. Also, there was a nice dry sense of humor that has jokes for all age groups.
As for the audiobook, Stephen Fry did an expert job at reading the story. He was able create distinct voices for different characters all throughout the book, along with altering his voice to fit the ambiance of the scenes. As an American, it was also enjoyable to listen to his British pronunciation. Who knew that the Brits put the stress on the first syllable of stalagmite?(less)
His Majesty’s Dragon does veer away from the traditional expectations of the fantasy genre. At first, when I loaded the book into my ebook reader, I w...moreHis Majesty’s Dragon does veer away from the traditional expectations of the fantasy genre. At first, when I loaded the book into my ebook reader, I was a bit surprised to see the length was only about 240 pages. This was a shock seeing that most fantasy books are quite mammoth in size. The over writing style and depth of the book is on the light side, though most of the dialogue is written in the form an older British dialect.
While much different from an expectation of what a fantasy novel should be, I was quite impressed with the alternative reality that the author did create. The inclusion of parts of dragon lore into the span of human history. The cultural aspects of countries and their effects on dragons was indeed fascinating for me.
Later in the book, the combat to me was very creative. I suspected at first would just be one person riding a dragon while the dragons engaged in aerial combat. Instead, it turned out that dragon warfare was along the lines of a hybrid between a WWII bomber and a colonial wooden warship.
Though not an absolute favorite, I am looking forward to reading more of the series. (less)
In all of the books that Ive read by Brandon Sanderson, he always has a novel and creative magic system that is just fascinating to me. This book is n...moreIn all of the books that Ive read by Brandon Sanderson, he always has a novel and creative magic system that is just fascinating to me. This book is no exception. Instead of the cliché of good versus evil as the main vein of the story, this tale focuses on why the magic of Elantris has failed.
Sanderson focuses on three main characters in the story, cycling through them consistently for the point of view. Their plights are woven together masterfully, with each characters segment playing off each other quite well. The foreshadowing for the most part is done subtly and aptly, coming together at the ending, though the climax did seem a bit hasty. I do have to say that there were a couple of developments of the character Kiin towards the end that were a bit irksome for me.
The overall world of Elantris was well thought out. The different religions of the world and how they relate to each other were intriguing. Sanderson fleshes out the scenery with sufficient description, though at times a bit more detail would be warranted. (less)
Since I have been power reading the Wheel of Time Series, I believe that I came into this book with some biases and certain expectations of fantasy wr...moreSince I have been power reading the Wheel of Time Series, I believe that I came into this book with some biases and certain expectations of fantasy writing. Despite this I was a huge fan of book one in the Mistborn trilogy and Elantris, both written by Brandon Sanderson.
Warbreaker does offer a very interesting weaving of different character plots that brought about some nice shocks throughout the story. Sanderson does a nice job of developing characters showing their change in personality and mindset as the story progresses. Also, as always, he is very creative with his magic systems; this book being no exception.
Saying this, I do feel that the author could have dived deeper into the description of the world and culture. To me it felt as if the characters were acting on a stage that was built and decorated in a minimalist style. The lore of the story was interesting but I felt unattached. I just felt that there could be a better connection for the reader that makes them feel that they are a part of this world. (less)
After I got past the prologue originally written by Robert Jordan and into the actual text written by Brandon Sanderson, at first I was thrown off by...moreAfter I got past the prologue originally written by Robert Jordan and into the actual text written by Brandon Sanderson, at first I was thrown off by the new writing style. I could tell that it was different and it was a bit off putting at first. Fortunately, after a few chapters, the transition between authors was over and I was striding through the new book, completely engrossed. Let’s just say I almost missed a couple of subway stops because of this book.
I do have to say with Sanderson’s writing style, that the Wheel of Time series feels a bit more streamlined. I still feel a great amount of depth to the book, but it seems to go deep enough. Can he pull this off because Jordan’s previous books were so deep and detailed enough and we are so familiar with this world, or if this entire series had been written in Sanderson’s style, would the story had been as epic? Either way, Sanderson was a wonderful choice for completing this series.
I do like how Sanderson doesn’t stay in one story arc for too long. It keeps the story fresh with all the different “updates” from different characters. Also, it is nice that some more stories have had some major resolutions happen, though their tales are not complete. I do have to say the development of Egwene and her plight was absolutely amazing and also Verin has to be one of my favorite characters now, despite the fact she is a second or third tier character.
I can’t wait for Towers of Midnight to come out on ebook this winter. I am going to be devouring this next book also. (less)
I have to say that this is the best book of the Wheel of Time series that I've read so far. Robert Jordan does stretch story lines out extremely long...moreI have to say that this is the best book of the Wheel of Time series that I've read so far. Robert Jordan does stretch story lines out extremely long over multiple books. In this story, quite of few new and old stories did come to a conclusion while still leaving me with a "What next?" kind of feeling. It's wonderful to have some closure to some of the story lines. Also, the stories could be riveting and shocking. I gasped out loud on the bus while reading this book and many of the passengers stared at me.
It must be noted, that if you are going to read this great book series, be prepared. While reading is a leisurely activity, reading this book series may feel like a second job. The true glory of this series is going back and seeing all the foreshadowing that Robert Jordan was able to do. (less)
For this latest installment of the Wheel of Time series, I felt that this story written by Brandon Sanderson got off to a slow start. In the last book...moreFor this latest installment of the Wheel of Time series, I felt that this story written by Brandon Sanderson got off to a slow start. In the last book, a lot of story arcs resolved major issues, though they were far from concluded. In the previous book Egwene’s plight was extremely solid and very interesting throughout the entire book which gave a wonderful pace and exciting feel throughout the entire book. For this installment, the story started of slow, but kept building and building. By the end of the book, the level of intensity of book was quite high. The epilogue did leave me a bit shocked with the massive amount of cliffhangers. Sigh... another year of waiting.
As I’ve heard from other people, it seems that Sanderson wasn’t able to pull of writing Mat. Sometimes Sanderson would nail Mat’s persona, but more times than not he fell far short of the mark, with quite a few of those times feeling like a person lacking Mat’s charisma desperately trying to imitate him. The movement at the end of the book about Mat’s plight was extremely interesting though.
After the precedent that Jordan set with his writing, there was one thing that was in the back of my head the entire time was the question, “Is this ‘streamlined’ or ‘watered down’?” It is hard to tell. There wasn’t any lack of storytelling with Sanderson style and I was engaged in the world that he painted the entire time I was writing the book. The characters are so well established that Sanderson doesn’t really have to dive deeply into their psyche. Sanderson was able to develop Perrin in a manner closely akin to the Perrin of the previous books, though the depth of his personality felt a bit lacking.
One thing that I really enjoyed that I felt stayed true to the Jordan style of writing was the introduction of what seems to be a new key character in the Black Tower. Being the first time that this character was really introduced (unless there is some extremely minor mention of him in previous books that I don’t remember), Sanderson did a good job of developing this character. It was a bite like a lazy narrative stroll with this person that discusses little tidbits of information and stories about his past that reflect on who he is. Most of the information could have been easily omitted in pure sense of plot development, but it did add a lot of personality to this person and gave a better understanding of him.
I was impressed by this book, though it wouldn’t be my favorite. A lot of issues and problems are coming to ahead. Tarmon Gai’don is just around the corner and the end of this prodigious serious is soon upon us and I can’t wait. (less)
When I began to read fantasy, I started off with the Wheel of Time series. I bit off way more than I could chew. I was only able to get through the fi...moreWhen I began to read fantasy, I started off with the Wheel of Time series. I bit off way more than I could chew. I was only able to get through the first two books on my first go. A couple of years later, I restarted and got to book four. The third time, I got to either book six or seven. Finally, after almost a decade after my first attempt I got through all the books released at the time of this posting (Towers of Midnight).
I read New Spring for the first time on my third attempt at the series. I read this book after the third book. While at the time I was able to appreciate it, this time around it I can understand the story and the details of the book much better after reading (virtually) all of the books in the series.
In comparison to other books in in Jordan's epic series, this one is a very light read. There are only three main characters to follow in this book instead of a plethora of characters to keep track of in one book. Also, Jordan is able to bounce back and forth between characters a bit better in this book instead following one character for eight long consecutive chapters (Do I really need to hear about Perrin's army camp in the middle of snow covered forest for a hundred and fifty pages?!?!).
Even though this may seem like a light version one of his regulars tombs, there are lots of threads in this story that help explain other events found in the main tale.
Overall, I like each Jordan's (and Sanderson's) book individually, but I really like the series as a whole. Just thinking about it makes me want to reread the entire series again. But alas, that must wait for a few years. There are plenty of other books in the literary ocean that I must first read.(less)
This book is going to be hard to review since I have ambivalent feelings towards this book. On one side, there are plenty of things that make this an...moreThis book is going to be hard to review since I have ambivalent feelings towards this book. On one side, there are plenty of things that make this an enjoyable read, while other factors leave me with feelings of disappointment. I was thoroughly entertained and, what’s important to me, pulled into the world George R. R. Martin was writing. I'm into in the series now, and so far there is nothing that is going to make me put down the series.
First on the list of things that I didn’t care for so much was the overt usage of medieval history. I felt that history was copied and pasted into his world, though greatly customized. I can clearly see the parallels of different medieval societies and certain groups within the story. These people are Scandinavian, those Mediterranean, and of course they're Mongolian. While there is a deep history into the families of the realm, the traditional feudal knight system to me was a bit irksome.
While it was interesting to have the story told from the perspectives of many different characters, I felt that the transitions into new scenes lack smooth manners. I do see the overall story arc, but with each new chapter the progression of the story is jerked into a new time and place and to me takes away from the story telling. In some transitions a few days will pass, while other entire months will pass and leaves me a bit confused until I can put everything together as the chapter progresses.
In other series, such as the Wheel of Time, the story starts off with a gentle flowing stream of the main group of characters. The stories of the characters start to part ways and build up with complexities with each passing book. For the Game of Thrones, the complexity and variety of stories starts to get pretty intense early on.
One thing that my friend did tell me early on was that Martin writes how he wants to. Twists and turns in the stories are quite entertaining and enjoyable. I thought I could see how the story was going to flow even as some of the protagonists were placed in dire situations. I tried to figure out how these characters were going to prevail over their adversities and before I knew it, the story took a dark and un-Hollywood-like turn.
I also enjoyed the distinctive personality of many of the characters. There are a lot of characters with plenty of back story to keep the ambiance quite interesting. The history and lore of this world and deep and extremely well thought out. Even little nicknames for certain characters take root in the extensive lore created by Martin. The level of detail and emersion into the story is deep enough without sacrificing the flow of the story.
At this rate, this series will probably never make my list of all time favorites. Despite that I will continue on reading and enjoying the series.(less)
The story telling of Temeraire series continues on with this book though it is mildly different than the first. What really pulled me in with the firs...moreThe story telling of Temeraire series continues on with this book though it is mildly different than the first. What really pulled me in with the first book was the amount of creativity and detailed of how the entire idea of aerial combat worked in a world of dragon. Unfortunately the amount of aerial combat is reduced in this installment.
Throne of Jade has a few major focuses, one being the development of Temaraire as he becomes aware of how different lifestyles of dragons in other parts of the world. Another is a trip across the world in a dragon transport ship. For those of you who are a fan of the Horatio Hornblower series, this segment will be right up your alley. The big story arc in the episode would be the interactions of Laurence, Temaraire and the Chinese.
To me, the most spectacular aspect of Novik’s writing is her ability to flesh out world history but with the inclusions of dragons that seem to fit seamlessly. She is able to continue this gift quite well in this book.
The major flaw that I have noticed repeating itself in this series so far is the pacing of the story. Usually the first third and last fourth of the story held all of the excitement and kept me reading, while the middle bits, though developing the story line, lost my interest. During that section I’d put the book down and pick it up over and over again.
I do plan to continue the series until the end. I’d recommend the series to my friend based on the awesomeness factor of dragons inserted into human history. The Temeraire series will probably get an honorable mention, though I doubt it will go down a classic on my list of books. There are still plenty of books to read, so we will see...(less)
To me, the start of the series of A Song of Ice and Fire got off to a rough start. Wading through a large book and trying to become familiar with a en...moreTo me, the start of the series of A Song of Ice and Fire got off to a rough start. Wading through a large book and trying to become familiar with a enormously detailed world and follow a complex story line was quite overwhelming.
After a challenging introduction to the world of Westeros in the first book, A Clash of Kings sets a wonderful pace for the series and has really drawn me into the story. Every character’s story arc was engaging and interesting for the entire length of the book (except for Bran’s).
Many other fantasy novels where the path of the story is laid out before the reader usually in the form of the hero must accomplish some great feat. This is a story of a land gripped by war and chaos and the reader can only watch what unfolds.
In my eyes, the best part of the book was near the end when George R. R. Martin foreshadowed character’s plight in another character’s story arc in quite an unrelated manner. When I saw all of this unfold, I was quite amazed.
This book has hooked me into the series and I look forward to reading the rest of the series, even if the release of each new book is not very consistent.(less)
So far in the entire series I would have to say that this book is my favorite so far. The key point we be that the author is able to keep a nice stead...moreSo far in the entire series I would have to say that this book is my favorite so far. The key point we be that the author is able to keep a nice steady pace of interest throughout the entire book. In the previous two books, the beginning and the end of the book contained the exciting parts, while the middle was development that had a hard time keeping my interest.
The entire arc of this story is of Laurence and Temeraire traveling across land from China back home to England and all the troubles they had along the way. I was really pulled in and fascinated by the different cultures known through our normal human history and how they were re-imagined with the inclusion of dragons. The introduction of feral dragons and their way of life kept me going during the middle of the book.
Hopefully this is an indication of Ms. Novik’s development of her writing styles and skills. I hope the next installment of her creative series continues forth in a similar manner to this story. (less)
February 24th, 2013 I decided to read this book again to get ready for the third season of the HBO TV show Game of Thrones. I found that season one was...moreFebruary 24th, 2013 I decided to read this book again to get ready for the third season of the HBO TV show Game of Thrones. I found that season one was very enjoyable since I had recently read the first book of the A Song of Fire and Ice series just before it aired. It was great to have the story fresh in my mind to see how they brought this world to the screen. Season two was nice, but not as great as season one since almost a year had past since I had read book two.
Even though I know where all the major events are going to happen, it was still a great book to read the second time around. Now that all the characters are well established in my mind, I was able to focus my attention on the details, nuances and foreshadowing in the story instead of reeling from all the shocking turn of events.
A different coworker this time was reading the book along with me and it was interesting to see hear her reactions to the story after staying up half the night reading. Also, she was able to vent her frustrations of not being able to talk to her husband about the story since he is waiting for the TV show with me and the other coworker who read the book back in 2011.
October 2nd, 2011 Of the first three books, A Storm of Swords has to be my favorite when it comes to the A Song of Fire and Ice series. All of the main characters have been well established so the confusion and overwhelming sense found in the first book is gone and makes reading smoother and much more enjoyable.
This book was a page turner and I couldn't put it down. Even though my coworker started it about a month and half before I did, it was so gripping that I was able to actually finish it a couple of days before he did. Having a longer commute than him also helps. While he complained about the plethora of descriptions about the food and clothing, especially at the weddings and festivals, it pleasantly created the ambiance of this world and was no where close to amount of drawn out detailed found in the Wheel of Time series.
Just like in the previous installments of this book, don't get too attached to any characters. Prominent (and main) characters drop left and right throughout this book. I find this style of storytelling that doesn’t have a giant predictable story arch refreshing. People you think are the good guy and will triumph in the end don't.
Another wonderful aspect of this book is a lot of the history of events and characters are shared and further deepens the world that George R. R. Martin has created. This really brings new light to characters that were once despicable but now I sympathize with.
Though I have a couple of other books on my list before I start book 4, I can’t wait to dive into it. Plus I want to give my coworker another head start.(less)
This books continues on the series in the same manner as before but like in the last book, this book maintains a state of excitement and suspense thro...moreThis books continues on the series in the same manner as before but like in the last book, this book maintains a state of excitement and suspense throughout the entire book. In books 1 & 2 of the series, the beginning and the ending of the book had the interesting and exciting portions. The middle section tended to be a bit bland and focused more on the development of the alternative world.
In book 4, like in the last book, the level of excitement was a constant throughout the book. I wanted to continue on to see what happened next. I didn't have the feeling from the first two books of wanting to get through a certain section so I could arrive to the more enjoyable sections.
Just like in all of the other books before this one, the dialogues and text are written in a bit of an archaic (and what I hope to be an accurate) from of British English. It is interesting to see new albeit (to my point of view) obtuse phrases.
Unlike the books up to now, this book ends in a real cliff hanger which leaves me wonder how our daring hero will overcome this situation. Seeing that this is not a George R. R. Martin novel, I am pretty sure the present crisis will be resolved in some manner that lets the Laurence and Temeraire continue on in a state of living.(less)
While I respect the choice that George R. R. Martin made to have this book focus on only half of the characters, it didn't have the same pace and exci...moreWhile I respect the choice that George R. R. Martin made to have this book focus on only half of the characters, it didn't have the same pace and excitement as the previous books in the series. In A Storm of Swords, I couldn't put the book down. I wanted to see what happened next and I always loved every shock and surprise. A Feast for Crows just didn't give me those feelings. A lot of interesting things happened and the events of Westeros developed further, but a good portion of the book seemed quite mundane.
One thing that greatly frustrated me in this book was how the story arc of one character was greatly fleshed out and only resulted in being a dead end before it changed directions. Maybe I missed something or maybe all of these happenings will have a greater impact on the story in a later book. For now I feel that this segment of writing is part of the bane of fantasy writing in which the author greatly fluffs the story in order to make the book a behemoth.
I was hoping for a giant, explosive and mind-blowing ending that would redeem the book and make a solid favorite. I didn't get what I was hoping for, but there were some events that were quite momentous. Maybe I've been desensitized to Martin's writing style and knew what to expected or maybe the plot twists in this book weren't as epic as his other books.
I did enjoy all of the new 'minor' characters from different factions. I personally think it expands the flavor of personalities and story lines in the book. It also might be useful for replacing some of the previous characters that are no longer amongst the living.
This book definitely doesn't make me want to drop the entire series. There was plenty interesting things that happened, but most of the book didn't have the 'oomph' I was looking for. I still love the series and look forward to reading book five. I just feel that this wasn't Martin's strongest contribution to the A Song of Ice and Fire series.(less)