Book Review: Words of Radiance, Part 2 (The Stormlight Archive #1, part 1)

Publishing Date: 2014

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.3/5

Review: When a novel goes wrong is when it grates against your own expectations, specifically (for me) character outcome and development. I ask myself, “Why invest so much into a character only to have them retain their antiquated/infant tendencies?”.

Case in point: Jasnah is/was a great character that spanned the first novel, and gave the underbelly some needed grit.  She makes a notable departure from the story-line to be replaced by a flouncing Shallan, questioning her own place in the world while blushing and biting her lip….A LOT. So why keep fukwit  as central to the theme? Yeah, she becomes a “this and a that” but the ride is just dismal. During Shallan’s tenure in this novel, she “blushes” 117 times. This from a gurl that stabbed her mother and strangled her father. She also kills a cohort in crime in the wild.  Despite her sinister beginnings she is still oh so perky and hot and brilliant and sensitive and stuff. Quite the feminists’ wet dream. As Shallan makes no sense to me, I subtract a star.

Good thing this novel is outstanding and exceeds the first via superb continuance. Kaladin, Dalinar and Sadeas continue to grow into different characters as the story line deverges, creating differing pressures on the characters. Adolin is still a bit dim so it makes perfect sense that he may shack up with Shallan, the ass of many hats.

While there are a few problematic issues with this novel, like extended dialogue that goes nowhere and phrasing that gets annoying (add “softly” to the list), I was still captured by the movement. Lets hope shjt gets better with Shallan being eaten by a huge Chasmfiend.

 

Book Review: The Way of Kings, Part 1 (The Stormlight Archive #1, part 1)

Publishing Date: 2011

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5

Review: What does backstory have to be in order to engage the reader in compelling fashion? For me the gaps in the current story line must be mysterious enough to evoke curiosity. If it involves the character, then the development must be consummate with the reveal. In other words the character is built from the uncovering of their past.  With Kaladin, he is built in such regard that any casting back tends to undermine his current state. So, when I found myself torn from the current story line, and hurled back in time to in-substantive moments, I skipped those chapters as they lent little to his current circumstance. And that is a real subjective view by the way.

This novel is long and very, very good. Self-indulgent ? Maybe? I did not get the feeler that this was modeled on self-exploration into the abyss of narcissistic tendencies (as did some reviewers). I found each chapter (except for the backstory ones) to be successively built which created tension and often left you wanting for the consummation of those events. As bound to characters as I was, I was in a constant state of demanding retribution.  This is a good thing, as the characters are built for transformation under the yoke of evil.

I think I am gonna hang around for this series and see what haps.

Book Review: The Fall of Dragons (The Traitor Son Cycle #5)

Publishing Date: 2017

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.1/5

Review: This was a good ending to a very well built series. Although the novels veer from the more mercenary aspects into the magical, there is plenty of movement and quests to keep you entertained without the overuse of a plot vehicle.

This series is built for and about characterization which drives a novel or series to success. What is astounding is that most of the characters are likable even when evil and the ones that suck, either leave at an appropriate time (Amicia) or plague the novel with their dipshitted-ness (Desiderata/Blanche).

Because this novel is so steeped in character, that is really the only way to rate it…based on the play of characters. Besides the aforementioned draggers-down-of-novels, the main baddie is just not believable. An almost immortal being is that myopically selfish in just about every instance, is a tough sell. Lot is just enough to be useless but manages to limp along in the story-line bringing almost nothing to the table. And yet good characters like Gabriel’s brother are cast aside, after having built them through successive trials. That’s war for you.

Overall the series is a solid 4 on characterization and movement while the magic comes in 3-ish.

 

 

Book Review: Plague of Swords (The Traitor Son Cycle #4)

Publishing Date: 2016

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.6/5

Review: So the Red Knight is flying around on a Griffon that speaks in his mind (of course he is). This is just one of the instances where the novels have become more fantastical as the series progresses. The world building is sliding a bit as we know most of the landscape and the factions therein. There are some very good quests that draw you into a new landscape of intrigue, yet for the most part that magic becomes more than the sum of the novels parts, and that was a shame.

Book Review: The Fell Sword (The Traitor Son Cycle #2)

Publishing Date: 2014

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.2/5

Review: Odd name for the title as the Fell Sword plays little in the outcome and is just mentioned in passing (Harmodius believes he can make one). This is more of the same mercenary awesomeness that brought you into the series initially. There is a bit of frippery with the princess, yet she is sinister behind the veils of court. Desiderata is beginning to suck cause she just glows and is so this and that…blah, blah, blah. Really, too much time spent on a worthless character.

Another great novel that deserves a better cover.

Book Review: The Dread Wyrm (The Traitor Son Cycle #3) by Miles Cameron

Publishing Date: 2015

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.7/5

Review: Another epic installment that brings to life times medieval. The Red Knight is developing into a complex character and that growth is evident in his far-seeing machinations. Desiderata is developing into a repugnant character that draws too much on frailty and the over-dramatic. Sauce is still one-dimensional as is Bad Tom, but they don’t need to be anything than what they are.

Still a fun read.

Book Review: The Red Knight (The Traitor Son Cycle #1) by Miles Cameron

Publishing Date: 2012

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.7/5

Review: Medieval magic and dragons running in concert with Christianity should make for strange bed-fellows. It works and works well as the focus in the novel is the questing and movement to a better ideal.  The Red Knight is an ever changing character that draws those around him to reach beyond their means. The world building is polished and excepting a few characters, was a wonderfully built novel.

On to the next in the Traitor Son Cycle.