Legal disclaimer: I have never listened to an audio book before. I have never read a John Grisham book before. I have never read a courtroom/legal booLegal disclaimer: I have never listened to an audio book before. I have never read a John Grisham book before. I have never read a courtroom/legal book before. I am not a lawyer. I do have some good lawyer jokes though.
With all that out of the way let me say I enjoyed the heck out of this audio book and it served me well on long car trips.
Right off the bat Dennis Boutsikaris does a very nice job with the audio portion of this audio book. He has a nice cadence, great inflections, and does a wonderful job giving each character their own voice. I could tell who was speaking in a long conversation just by the speech patterns he was using. I think his Chicago accent would occasionally stray into a Bostonian accent but it wasn't very distracting. Boutsikaris was a great voice for this and I was pleased by the quality of his contribution.
As for the book portion of the audio book, Grisham presents the reader/listener with a very colorful cast. From the grumpy Oscar Finley, to the hustling Wallace "Wally" Figg, to the earnest David Zinc, to all the many supporting characters we come across there is more than enough personality to go around. Grisham does a great job having the characters play off against each other and giving relationships a deep sense of history. I really liked how Grisham crafted the characters and relationships, making them all feel very natural and real.
The story was also a lot of fun. Instead of just focusing on the courtroom drama of a major litigation, the vast majority of the book detailed all the out of court maneuvering by the mass tort bar, the tiny firm of Finley and Figg, and the pharmaceutical company that manufactured the questionable drug. It was fascinating to see how these sorts of things play out, how opportunistic the lawyers in question were, and strategy the corporation used to defend themselves.
But beyond the legal drama, this was a book about people. We learned and sympathized with Oscar's marital troubles, we got to know Wally and his challenge to stay sober, and we got to root for David as he cast off the golden shackles of a giant legal firm for the uncertainty of street law. More importantly, we got to see some of the other law they practiced and what drove them as people. I greatly enjoyed how the characters and story lines interwove themselves and was left with a very satisfied feeling as all the loose ends were (logically and reasonably) tied up by the end.
All in all this was a great first audiobook for me. I was constantly engaged, laughed out loud many times, and found the story lots of fun. The audio was great, the book was great, it was all great!...more
When I saw the the amazon ad link for this book on io9 I felt it was like a little slice of Christmas come early. I am a self admitted Sanderson addicWhen I saw the the amazon ad link for this book on io9 I felt it was like a little slice of Christmas come early. I am a self admitted Sanderson addict and had no idea this was even on the horizon (OK, so I am poorly informed addict, but one nonetheless).
Simply put this is an awesome novella and has all the hallmarks Sanderson's other amazing works:
-Kickass female character: The protaganist of this story is a pretty badass Trapper name Sixth of Dusk (for a pretty profound reason you learn later). The island he works is the largest and most dangerous with exotic menaces everywhere. He ends up falling in with a homeisler, a female named, Vathi. While not as capable a trapper as Dusk (which is a tough bar for men as well) she is very competent and handles herself exceedingly well in the dangerous environment earning his grudging respect.
-Well thought out and developed cultures: In this case two of them, Trappers and Homeislers. Trappers are a mix of shamans and rangers who train to survive and thrive on a group of holy islands. These islands play into their religious beliefs and customs. Homeislers are more "civilized" and at the stage of development of the late 18th century: early steam technology, adventure science, and big corporations. They tend to view trappers as a necessary part of getting goods from the holy islands, but somewhat uncivilized, in the stereotypical "noble savage" sort of way.
Case in point: At one point Vathi ends up killing the most dangerous menace on island (because Dusk doesn't have a monopoly on badassitude), a nightmaw, using primitive gunpowder technology. Dusk thinks this is great and they should wipe all the nightmaws:
Vathi: I thought trappers were connected to nature. Dusk: We are. That's how I know we would all be better off without any of these things. Vathi: You are disabusing me of many romantic notions about your kind, Dusk.
Sanderson does a nice job introducing and demolishing the noble savage, one with the land stereotype that Dusk could easily fall into.
-Unique and nifty magic system: This one is centered around birds that come from a very dangerous island. Seriously, Sanderson is like the MacGyver of fantasy writers. Give him a paper clip, chewing gum, and used floss and he can fashion and magic system that will both intrigue and impress you. In this case birds of different breeds can bestow 'talents' upon those nearby. These birds are highly valued and Trappers are the only source of them.
-A compact but expansive story with a compelling Protaganist: This story took place over the course of maybe twelve hours, but delved really deeply into both the Trapper tradition, the clash of Trapper culture and Homeislers expansive business and science rationalism, and the machination of the One's Above, a spacefaring civilization that has limited diplomatic ties with the Homeislers. That's right folks, we have SPACEFARERS IN THE COSMERE!!!11!11!!!1!!!!
"From what I have hear them [the One's Above] say, there are many other worlds like ours, with cultures that cannot sail the stars. "
While we see the story from Dusk's point of view, his conversations with Vathi help flesh out the world wonderfully. It was interesting to see the world from the perspective of a character who knows his way of life is fading into history. Often Sanderson will give us characters on the rise or already at the top. Here we get a great no nonsense character who is both at the top of his trapper abilities but also recognizes the world is changing, leaving his people in the historic dust. While being excellent at being a trapper, he is less well equipped with dealing with others. Trapping is a lonely activity, requiring weeks at sea, alone, to get to the holy islands. His interactions with Vathi show this and make his feel like a very interesting and well develop character.
The other interesting about Dusk is that he was quite different from the typical Sandersonian protagonist. Most of Sanderson's main character have some level of snark of sarcasm in their world view or conversational style. Dusk was refreshingly terse in conversations, saying only what needed to be said. I think even a little bit of snark would have seriously diminished his character and Sanderson was wise to restrain his natural conversational snark tendency in this case; I think that shows that Sanderson is getting better and more disciplined as he writes more and not letting his runaway success make him complacent.
I was delighted reading this story but, like Legion, it was too short. I wanted so much more. More of the Trapper culture, more about the Homeislers, a lot more about the One's Above, and more about the awesome magical birds. We discover one talent the birds bestow but no indication about what others do. Like Legion it was a great story that left me wanting more, hence the loss of a star.
So do you hear me Sanderson? I am withholding that one star until we get more. My terms are non-negotiable and I expect you to comply post haste.
I will also accept an advanced copy of the next Stormlight book as suitable payment.
Though in all seriousness this is a fantastic novella. Fans of Sanderson and fantasy will devour this gem of a story....more
There is no doubt that Star Wars is one of the largest and most pervasive cultural phenomenon since the first movie was released in 1977. All around t
There is no doubt that Star Wars is one of the largest and most pervasive cultural phenomenon since the first movie was released in 1977. All around the world people are familiar with light sabers and Darth Vader, Wookies and droids, Jedi and X-Wings. It has gotten to the point of cultural background noise. Everyone knows that Vader is Luke's father to the point that even the most anti-spoiler people nary bat an eyelash at that statement. But we live in a time where Star Wars and its themes are the norm. We can't conceive of a time when there wasn't Star Wars. The story of its genesis and its cultural diffusion is fascinating and revealing.
"How Star Wars Conquered the Universe" is a fantastic look at the franchise's history, roots, and influences through early 2014 and its purchase by Disney. While Taylor is quite clearly a huge Star Wars fan, he approaches this history with the objectivity of a journalist, not accepting the official company line as Gospel and seeking out all sides to the story. Instead of being a straight forward chronological retelling of the events that led up to the movies and other media, Taylor looks at its root influences. Surprisingly, this goes as far back as the late 19th century, when H.G. Wells and Jules Verne took radically different views of science-fiction. H.G. Wells was all about the story, science be damned while Verne was all about using the limits of science to sculpt to the story. Here was the split between science fantasy (Star Wars) and science fiction (think Star Trek or 2001: Space Odyssey).
More directly, the vision of George Lucas was heavily influenced by the sci-fi serials of the 1920's and 30's; namely Flash Gordon and Buck Rodgers. Adventures in space with aliens, villainous empires, dashing rescues, and fast paced actions informed a lot of how Lucas would develop the original trilogy. Taylor also tracks the life of a young Lucas as well, one that was just as interested (arguably more interested) in racing fast cars than film making.
Taylor also does a great job telling the story of all the many people who helped bring Star Wars into the world. From the concept artist Ralph McQuerrie who was responsible for bring many of Lucas's ideas to paper and creating some of its most iconic images:
To Alan "Laddie" Ladd who greenlit the first movie and became its champion among executives, to Marcia Lucas, George's wife and a major editor on the original Trilogy, to so many others who helped create the final vision that was Star Wars. Reading this it becomes very clear that there was an enormous team effort to create the Star Wars we all know and love.
But Taylor does more than just chronicle the path of Star Wars, he also examines the culture that has grown up around it. From the 501st Legion, a group of folks who dress as stormtroopers, to lightsaber instructors, to droid builders, to the long history of Star Wars spoofs, to every imaginable type of merchandise you could imagine. Taylor does an excellent job telling the cultural story of Star Wars and how it has spread around the world through fan passion and dedication.
What I found most interesting was the path that lead Lucas to the dark side... I mean to making the prequels. I am on record of really not liking them at all for a wide variety of reasons. This book does a wonderful job giving me the context for what happened and why everything went wrong.
Effectively Lucas was operating under many constraints for the original trilogy: budget, timing, technology, actor selection. All of these selective pressures caused decisions to be made that resulted in the movies we all know and love. Lucas had to compromise, rely on others for polishing up his writing, letting actors push back and adapt dialouge to suit the mood of a scene, and real sets for actors to act against. Lucas admits that the original trilogy was really on 25% of his vision (hence his consistent tinkering with it in special edition releases).
But by the time the prequels rolled around CGI technology was at a point when Lucas could realize his full vision. Star Wars was, by this time, a major cultural phenomenon already. Lucas could do no wrong and no one pushed back against his decisions. Harrison Ford (Han Solo) once said "George, you can type this shit, but you can't say it!". Sadly there was no Harrison Ford on the set of the prequels. And the dialogue suffered for it. Actors were accumulated for their name (since who doesn't want to be in the Star Wars franchise) instead of their chemistry with each other. Real sets gave way to sprawling green screens, alienating the actors from their surroundings and motivations.
Finally Lucas decided to make the prequels more kids oriented. In fact, some of the early Episode I scripts Taylor outlines actually sounded really good. But these were rewritten to the detriment of the story, characters, and flow. The result was a trilogy with an average Rotten Tomato score of 68% compared the original trilogy's 89%. Not surprisingly Lucas thoughts the prequels most fulfilled his vision of what the Star Wars in his head should be.
My take away was the Lucas had some great ideas (and some terrible ones as some of the early Star Wars scripts reveal), but that if he was allowed to be a kid in a candy store with an unlimited budget his worst qualities would rise to the top. He needed people who were better writers around him and directors with a great eye for cinematography and good rapport with the actors.
While I greatly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in the history of Star Wars, there were a few parts that I thought it cam eup short (hence the four star rating):
-The book has a fantastic look at the filming and development of the first movie, but subsequent movies are given a shorter and shorter treatment. I would imagine there were just as many interesting stories form those movies as with the first one. I can understand Taylor not wanting to rehash what many other Star Wars histories have done but the difference between the treatments of the movies was glaring to me. -Similarly, this book didn't touch too much upon the main actors in the movies. There was some high levels discussion of them but not much of a deep dive into how the movies affected them and what they thought of them for the most part. Once again, I can understand Taylor not wanting to rehash what many other Star Wars histories have done, but the actors are an important part of the history of Star Wars and should have been more thoroughly explored. -I noticed a hand full of typos that should have been caught before this book went to print. Nothing major, but they shouldn't be there. -I thought that the conclusion chapter was unnecessary. The material could have been moved to other chapters in the book. Instead of finishing with Lucas riding off into the proverbial sunset having sold Star Wars to the (hopefully) caring hands of Disney, we get another, somewhat generic, chapter.
Granted these are somewhat nitpicky critiques but I thought they did hold the book back from being a full fledged 5 star. In any event this was a highly enjoyable book and should be required reading for all star Wars fans. It gave me a deeper appreciation of what it took to create the franchise and what influenced its themes. I can honestly say that it gave me a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the whole series and a greater appreciation for what Star Wars has done for the world as a whole....more
Having finished "Never Let Me Go", I am left with this image:
A beautiful frame that contains nothing. I would paraphrase the Bard if this book containHaving finished "Never Let Me Go", I am left with this image:
A beautiful frame that contains nothing. I would paraphrase the Bard if this book contained anything close to sound and fury, but it certainly signifies nothing.
Seriously, little to nothing happens in this book. The central characters, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy, are little better than leaves floating along a babbling brook. They passively accept their fate and do nothing to resist the system they find themselves in. Frequently it would seems like something was going to happen and then the conclusion would be so anti-climatic the term conclusion has grounds to sue for misappropriating its title. I felt like a character from Monty Python and the Holy Grail yelling at the characters to
Sadly they rarely complied with my yelling.
I also find the writing style that contained constant references to future events that the narrator (Kathy) would then relate grating after the third or fourth time. Finally I thought there was WAAAAAAAAAAAY too much telling and not enough showing. I understand that the story was effectively just Kathy telling the reader about her memories, but there are ways a good writer can avoid that pitfall.
Spoilers after another gorgeous empty frame.
So I understand what Ishiguro was trying to do here. He wanted a book that reflected upon memory and loss among a trio of friends. He wanted to capture the bittersweet regret of the decisions made and not made, of the roads not taken, the appeal of nostalgia, and the vagueness of the past. And while he is certainly a gifted writer that does a good job building up the relationships between Ruth, Kathy, and Tommy, he is criminally negligent with the rest of his authorial responsibility.
First and foremost (and here is where the spoilers begin) the entire concept of the donor system just made no sense. Or, to be more specific, Ishiguro didn't give the reader any context for it. The world outside of Kathy's narrow view was shrouded in mystery. There are vague references to other aspects in the world, like cars coming the other way in a dense cloud bank. But as soon was we see them they have passed up by and rejoined the fog surrounding these characters. Because of this I simply could not accept the premise and operation of the system of donors. There seemed to be an animus towards the clones but we are only told about it. It is all left frustrating vague.
I also find it extremely unlikely that the clones would not rebel or resist the system in any way. I can understand that the school Kathy et. al. attended sort of socially engineered the children to get information before they were really able to handle it, but after the first or second "donation" I would think the clones would have a much stronger feeling about the whole thing. I simply cannot imagine a situation where a person, especially ones so well educated as Kathy and her classmates, would simply walk into the donation centers like lambs to the slaughter.
Maybe there was something done to the genetic code that makes them more passive but Ishiguro gave no indication that was the case. To an outsider observer, like the reader, the clones would seem like a normal person (Which for all intents and purposes they are). The universal lack of resistance is astounding and completely unbelievable, probably the biggest black mark against this book in my mind.
I wasn't terribly enchanted with the three main characters. Kathy was rather passive and aloof, Tommy was well meaning and sweet, but not terribly interesting, and Ruth was manipulative and attention seeking. Together they were one big mess of relationships (which I suppose is what Ishiguro was going for) that I just didn't give a hoot about. Granted these relationships were told from just the perspective of Kathy so they are bound to be colored by her perspective, but this did little to endear me to them. Just another way Ishiguro failed to engage me with the book.
I think Ishiguro wanted to tell a story about friendship, loss, nostalgia, and memory. Then, for some reason, he decide to throw in clones and donations and an alternative history England. But unlike a good world builder he didn't develop and expand on these ideas. He had them present but in no coherent way that integrated well with or reinforced the plot. The result was a world I had great difficulty believing could be plausible, a writing style that failed to get me motivated about the story, and characters that struck me as very bland and uninteresting. There is no doubting Ishiguro's writing ability, but his inability to create and sustain a cohesive alternative world with interesting characters made this a rather unenjoyable read....more
This book suffered from a crisis of identity. It did not know what it wanted to be: a mid 19th Century London period piece centered on (but not compleThis book suffered from a crisis of identity. It did not know what it wanted to be: a mid 19th Century London period piece centered on (but not completely about) a female undertaker, a murder mystery, a romance, an examination of the effects the US Civil War had on England, or commentary on British society/the monarchy.
The main character, Violet, was likable enough: loyal friend, loving, empathetic mother figure to an orphan, very skilled in undertaking, loyal to her (rather undeserving) husband. All qualities I would find admirable in a friend or acquaintance but left me somewhat flat in terms of a character I could get invested in. I think she was somewhat constrained by the story she was in. Because it never really centered on one strong plot line or theme I could only get a surface feel for her as a character. If the book had been just a murder mystery I could have seen more of her deductive or investigative side. If the book was just a romance I could have seen her more sentimental or vulnerable side. Because the book was such a mishmash I only got fleeting views of her many facets.
I did like the all the details the author provided about funerary practices and customs. The sort of funerals people had, their manner of dress and attire (black, shockingly enough), how they should behave during the morning period (hint: NOT like Queen Victoria). Trent do a nice job building up British society and culture in this book (or at least the middle class portion of it). I also appreciated that Trent called herself out on the history she adapted for the story. After the book finished she detailed the actual events that were alluded to during this period, explaining what, if anything, she changed. I can respect that and applaud her for being forthcoming with this.
What really pushed me over the edge from a three star review down to a two star was how the murder mystery plot line was integrated into the story. Spoilers after this point:
So throughout the first 65% of the book we are treated with occasional diary entries from a mysterious killer. This killer clearly thinks highly of themselves and their ability to remain undetected.
In fact the voice in these diary entries takes pride in no one every uncovering their foul deeds. But because Violet has noticed some weird splotches on two bodies entrusted to her this mysterious murder decides to take an interest in her. The murderer kidnaps Violet's adopted child (Susana, who it turns out had a tenuous connection to the murderer) and taunts Violet over the course of a few weeks through mysterious letters.
Eventually Violet figures out that the murderer plans to feed her adoptive Susanna to the lions. She rushes to the zoo, is confronted IN BROAD DAYLIGHT by the murderer who proceeds to monologue their criminal history and motivation to Violet before the proverbial calvary arrive and save the day. So effectively this is how it went:
Murderer: Man, I am so awesome at not being noticed but still able to literally get away with murder. Violet: Wow, these are some strange blotches on these two dead bodies (out of dozens) that I have dealt with. That sure is weird. Maybe if I wasn't so busy running a successful business, helping the royal family with funeral arrangements, raising a daughter, being social with friends, and possibly sort of kind of flirting with this dashing American I could investigate further. Murderer: Gasp! Someone has noticed my the tell tale by product of my otherwise undetectable killing method (unless an autopsy in performed). Instead of just leaving for another city to continue my nefarious deeds I will instead concoct an elaborate plan to torment and then gruesomely kill this undertaker by relying on lions. also, since I know my plan is flawless I will tell her everything. Deus Ex Machina: Not so fast fiend, this is supposed to be a series. Violet can't die. Murderer: Curses! Now I am foiled and will surely hang. If only I had just disappeared to another city where there would be no suspicion of me at all. I could have lived to kill another day.
So between the meandering, muddled story, the not too terribly deep characters, the random asides to other characters that bore no relation to the plot (looking at you Abraham Lincoln), the pitifully weak murder mystery (though mystery is being quite kind to it, the murderer let the entire family Filidae out of the bag), and the rather boring romance this book just didn't do it for me....more
How does one review a book like Memories of Ice? A book with so many plot lines that are so effortlessly integrated that the book presents itself as aHow does one review a book like Memories of Ice? A book with so many plot lines that are so effortlessly integrated that the book presents itself as a gordian knot of story and narrative? I could try to carefully tease out the various overlapping agendas, plots, and schemes different factions in this world have. I could try to paint a complex tableau that encompasses the many nuances of the characters that are encountered and how they grow and evolve over the course of the story. I sing the praises of its highly detailed and heart breaking battle scenes, which encompassed most of this book :-), while noting how the action drove characters to make tough, consequential decisions.
Or I could give it a cursory review and then list lots of fun things about the book.
Since many others have said some much more, so much better than I could hope to achieve, I am going with the last option.
So Memories of Ice returns us to the characters from the first book in the series, Gardens of the Moon while at the same time introducing us to a whole new slew of characters because Steven Erikson is physically incapable of of writing a book without introducing a bunch of new major characters. We see some absolutely AMAZING battle scenes, learn more about the series's universe and its many players, and see several tragic, unexpected, and major deaths. The writing and imagery is superb and the world building is top notch. I had immense difficulty putting the book down. Thanks to two transatlantic flights I was able to get in some solid reading time. I thought it was much better than Deadhouse Gates, but that could be due to me just knowing more about the world this story takes place in. In any event this is an excellent addition to the series and I highly anticipate the next book!
Now on to the things I found fun about this book:
Great insights into the human condition: For all the fantasy and magic and clashing armies, this series is very much about the mortal experience (albeit one where immortal being use us puny mortals as play things). Erikson has some really nice turns of phrase about the nature of human existence that I thought were worth highlighting.
We each survive as we must, and when time comes to die, we find our places of solitude...
Death and dying makes us into children again, in truth, one last time, there in our final wailing cries.
Expedience always comes arm-in-arm with discomfort.
Forces of nature are indifferent to justice... Thus it falls to us sentient beings, no matter how unworthy, to impose the moral divide.
War is not a natural state. It is an imposition, nd a dmaned unhealthy one. With its rules, we willingly yield our humanity. Speak not of just causes, worthy goals. We are takers of like. Servants of Hood, one and all.
"Diversity is worth celebrating... for it is the birthplace of wisdom."
Kruppe: Possibly the greatest character of the series, this rotund, loquacious gentleman always has fantastic lines and physical comedy (not to mention his... associates as you will see below):
"Kruppe is suitably honoured by your formal, nay, respectful welcome - what a vast display, Kruppe wonders, will you formidable warriors unveil when greeting the Council of Darujhistan's official representatives? The sheer escalation now imminent has Kruppe's heart all a apatter with anticipation!"
"Dear boon companion Coll! Your lack of faith crushes frail Kruppe to his very toes which are themselves wriggling in anguish!"
Ah, yes! Truths, squirming like puppies around Kruppe, upon which he laid patting hand on each one and all in turn, as would any kind master."
"Nonsense, Wizard! Hold to your unassailable self-confidence - aye, some might call it megalomania, but not Kruppe, for he too is in possession of unassailable self-confidence, such as only mortals are capable of and then rightfully but a mere handful the world over. You've singular company, Kruppe assures you!
"Kruppe assures deadly wizard that silence is as Kruppe's closest mistress, lover unseen and unseeable, unsuspected and unmitigatigable."
"Kruppe and the truth are lifelong partners, friend Coll! Indeed, wedded bliss - we only yesterday celebrated our fortieth anniversary."
"Kruppe denies the existence of elusive complexity regarding self, worrisome wizard. Simplicity is Kruppe's mistress - in joyful conspiracy with his dear wife, Truth, of course. Long and loyal in allegiance, this happy threesome."
"Kruppe sees beyond the wrinkled veil, my dear. In all things. Thus his midnight mistress is Faith - a loyal aid whose loving touch Kruppe deeply appreciates."
"Wisdom, after all, is Kruppe's blood brother."
"Not in the least, but perseverance is Kruppe's closest cousin..."
I could seriously read a book that was nothing but Kruppe traveling around frustrating important people. He even gets the better of Quick Ben and that is no easy task!
Gender Politics: It is refreshing to see an author put men and women on the same footing in a fantasy series. All too often women are relegated to support parts or window dressing. Erikson does a wonderful job putting females right into the mix of things be it as foot soldiers in an army or a coniving ascendent women play just as big of a role in this series as the men do. One character even states how foolish it is for a city to NOT recruit the women in the population for its defesnse, seeing it as a major waste of potential.
What we have here is... a failure to communicate: The speed (or lack there of) of communication in sword and sorcery settings can lead to some painfully ironic statements. Point in fact, the following quote from Paran about his family: No matter what, Tavore [his sister] will take care of Felisin [their youngest sister]. That, at least, I can take comfort from.
My guess is the next family reunion will be REEEEEEAAAAALLLLLLYYYYYY awkward.
Realism in Warfare: It is very easy for a writer to sacrifice accuracy for spinning a tale about clashing armies. I think Erikson does a great job getting a lot of details right. Napoleon is right when he says an army marches on its stomach and Erikson uses the importance of logistics to influence how his characters behave.
Erikson also recognizes the importance of paying troops. He quite accurately states that without gold coming from Darujhistan, Dujek's army would be suffering from starvation and desertion. Concurrent to this read I was reading a book about the Thirty Years War and a major problem all armies faced was keeping armies paid and deployed in the field.
All in all I was very pleased by the realistic approach Erikson took to military matters.
World Flavor: While I am not entirely convinced chapters are strictly necessary for Erikson's writing style (seriously, some chapters were 20 minutes long, others an hour and twenty minutes long), I did like the flavor texts new chapters and sections provided. No doubt they will make a lot more sense after I finish the series but for now they are enjoyable nuggets about the greater world and history.
One liners: It shouldn't be lost amidst the crunch of massive armies and the machinations of ascended gods that there are some damn spiffy one liners in this book (by people other than Kruppe that is). Among my favorites:
"Thank you. I'll not deny I am impressed by your mastery of six warrens, Quick Ben. In retrospect, you should have held back on at least half of what you command." The man made to rise. "But, Bauchelain," the wizard replied, "I did." The divan, and the man on it, fared little better when struck by the power of a half-dozen bound warrens than had the wall and Korbal Broach moments earlier." Shades of Watchmen anyone?
The fallen trees - wood and branches liberally drenched in lantern oil - lit up in a conflagration as the first of the burners exploded. Within the span of a heartbeat, the trail and the entire company trapped upon it were in flames. Abyss below, we're [the Bridgeburners]not a friendly bunch are we.
[A paragraph of Kallor monologuing as all villains do] "Enough," Draconus growled. "Your prattling grows wearisome, Kallor."
"If you refuse to go further, then... nothing. Apart from irritating me, that is. The Azath is patient. You will make the journey, though the privilege of my escort occurs but once, and that once is now." "Meaning I won't have your cheery company next time? How will I cope?" "Miserably, if there was justice in the world."
I cannot recommend this book enough and, if you are having doubts about this series after the second book let me assure you that this book is spectacular and really kicks the series into a higher gear....more