This is my first Brandon Sanderson read outside of his Wheel of Time work. While I can't say I was disappointed (I was expecting a pretty average read...moreThis is my first Brandon Sanderson read outside of his Wheel of Time work. While I can't say I was disappointed (I was expecting a pretty average read) there certainly isn't anything here to make me rush out and read more of his work.
Sanderson reminds me a lot of Dean Koontz: an ok author who comes up with some fairly interesting idea but lacks much in the way of depth or intelligence in his writing. This book isn't good or bad. It's average through and through(less)
At long last the end of The Wheel of Time is here. I started reading the series shortly before Winter's Heart came out in 2000. Much has changed for m...moreAt long last the end of The Wheel of Time is here. I started reading the series shortly before Winter's Heart came out in 2000. Much has changed for me over the past thirteen years - especially my taste in books and life interests - but through all of that The Wheel of Time has been a constant for me. It's been with me through most of my teenage and all of my adult years. And now, at last, it's done.
I, and most other fans, would be lying if I claimed to have loved every moment of the series. At times it's been a frustrating and infuriating process. When Robert Jordan died in 2007, many of us assumed the worst that because he'd spent too much time writing on minor details we'd never see the end of the series. Thankfully, he spent his last days leaving careful notes ensuring that we would eventually see the end.
There's been plenty said - good and bad - about Brandon Sanderson's completion of the series. While many of those points on both sides are valid, I personally don't see much point in doing anything but thanking him for the work he's done. He took on an impossible task and gave us an ending worthy of the series. Was his work perfect? Nope. How could it have been? But it was respectful and more than worthy of Robert Jordan's legacy.
This last book is a whirlwind of action and resolution. The pace is absolutely relentless. Despite the 900 page length, the book absolutely flies by. Normally when reading a book like this, I'd find myself wishing for less action and more quiet, character driven moments. Reading A Memory of Light, I realized that that sort of complaint was really irrelevant. The series has transcended any individual scenes, dialogues or characters. It's a work of staggering complexity - more immersive experience than novel. It's triumph isn't in the style, characters, action or dialogue; it's in bringing the enormous complexity to a satisfying resolution. Neither Jordan nor Sanderson were particularly great novelists, but both were phenomenal world builders whose joint talents gave this series the ending it needed and the one fans deserve.
It's difficult to say what the series' legacy will be. On the one hand, there are few fantasy novels that have influenced the genre so much as The Wheel of Time. On the other, the genre has seemingly already passed Jordan by moving on from stories of good vs evil to the morally ambiguous worlds of Martin and others. Regardless of how the series is looked back upon in the years to come, it has undoubtedly left is mark on all of us who made it this far. Thank you, Robert Jordan, for sharing your world with us. It's been an incredible ride. (less)
This is a tough book to review fairly. It has the unfortunate job of having to follow up the masterpiece that is A Wrinkle in Time. While it's a good...moreThis is a tough book to review fairly. It has the unfortunate job of having to follow up the masterpiece that is A Wrinkle in Time. While it's a good book in its own right, it doesn't come close to the brilliance of its predecessor.
In my review of A Wrinkle in Time, I mentioned that although I've loved that book for a very long time, I've only just now decided to read the rest of the series. At least part of my reason is that I didn't want my experience of the first book to be diminished by lesser sequels. I suppose in a sense that fear was justified, but I don't at all regret reading A Wind in the Door. It's a great read and it gives us a chance to revisit many of the same characters from the first book.
My recommendation is to view this not as a sequel to A Wrinkly in Time but as a stand-alone novel set in the same world. From that perspective, it's very satisfying and highly recommended. (less)
Jack of Fables is back for one last volume. I was disappointed with the previous two, especially the Fulminate Blade, which is easily the worst story...moreJack of Fables is back for one last volume. I was disappointed with the previous two, especially the Fulminate Blade, which is easily the worst story within the Fablesverse. This final volume more than makes up for the recent problems with the series. The last issue especially was phenomenal.
(view spoiler)[Even though I think the series has run its course and I'm glad to see it end, I hope Willingham comes back to Jack at some point in the future. As Jack himself says on the last page, just because we're done reading about his adventures, doesn't mean he's done having them. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>(less)
There's a scene at the beginning of Name of the Wind where Chronicler and Kvothe argue over how long it will take Kvothe to tell his story. Kvothe ins...moreThere's a scene at the beginning of Name of the Wind where Chronicler and Kvothe argue over how long it will take Kvothe to tell his story. Kvothe insists on three days; Chronicler argues that no one needs that much time to tell their story. Of course, Kvothe wins the argument giving us the format for the trilogy (one book=one day of Kvothe's story). At the end of day/book 2, I'm forced to conclude the Chronicler was right. There is no way Kvothe's story deserves the length it's been given.
The Wise Man's Fear is an exercise in otherwise good writing spoiled by bad pacing and self indulgence. Just like in the first volume the characters, dialogue and action are all very well written. This second book, however, is filled with unnecessary subplots that either go nowhere or, if they have value, go on for far too long. This book's 1,000 page length is entirely inexcusable.
My biggest complaint with the series as it stands now is that it seems entirely directionless. We're two books into a trilogy and I'm hard pressed to say where the series is going. I don't mean that in a good way where the author keeps you guessing through unexpected twists and turns. What I mean is that the series meanders from one subplot to the next without any sense of purpose. There are hints of a larger overarching plot, but those elements are, as of now, woefully underdeveloped.
I gave The Name of the Wind 5 stars and I stand by that. It set the stage for a great series, introduced fascinating characters and hinted at major mysteries to come. The Wise Man's Fear does virtually nothing to advance the series on any of those plots. Despite it's length, the plot, characters and mysteries all seem to be in roughly the same place they were at the end of the first book. The entire thing feels like a waste of time and effort. You could probably skip this volume and go straight to book 3 without having missed much at all.
What makes all these problems worse is the amount of time we've had to wait between books. The Name of the Wind came out in 2007. At the time it was written a version of The Wise Man's Fear was already completed. Instead of releasing that version, as he'd originally intended to do, Rothfuss spent the next four years revising. Although it's impossible to compare that version to the finished product, I have a very hard time believing the book has been substantially improved.
Case in point, when describing some of his revisions on his blog, Rothfuss mentioned he'd added 60,000 words to the book. Given that my issues with this volume are mostly centered on length and pacing, it's hard to believe those additions helped the finished product, and there's every reason to believe that the extra material made the problems worse.
The Wise Man's Fear isn't a terrible read. Rothfuss is a very entertaining writer. That said, being able to write good characters and dialogue doesn't do much if your book is a directionless mess that does almost nothing to advance the plot.
I will definitely finish the series, but my anticipation level for book 3 is pretty low. After finishing The Name of the Wind, I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. After finishing The Wise Man's Fear, I'm just hoping that whatever happens next can happen without so much wasted space and pointless subplots.
2.5 stars, but my disappointment rounds it down to 2. (less)
The second volume in The History of LOTR is no where near as interesting as the first. The material in Return of the Shadow was quite a bit different...moreThe second volume in The History of LOTR is no where near as interesting as the first. The material in Return of the Shadow was quite a bit different from the end result. It was great stuff.
Unfortunately most of what's in Treason of Isengard is a lot closer to the finished product. There is some good stuff. Tolkien's various outlines are fantastic and watching the development of the story is still great.
But on the whole this reads like a rough draft of the finished product. Great for Tolkien scholars but for even a die hard fan like myself it seemed a bit pointless at times. (less)
Tolkien fanatics and/or would be novelists will loves this. Everyone else will probably be bored silly.
Even for a Tolkien fanatic like me, the book d...moreTolkien fanatics and/or would be novelists will loves this. Everyone else will probably be bored silly.
Even for a Tolkien fanatic like me, the book does get a little dense in places (Middle-Earth geography, dates, some of the footnotes) but those sections are very easy to skip over if you start losing interest.
One interesting side note: the four titles that make up The History of The Lord of the Rings (Return of the Shadow, The Treason of Isengard, The War of the Ring and The End of the Third Age) were all alternate titles for the the volumes of LOTR. Personally, with the exception of End of the Third Age, I like them much better. (less)