Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Way of Kings


The Way of Kings
by Brandon Sanderson

This is the first book in Sanderson's The Stormlight Archive series. It is over 1000 pages which made it a bit overwhelming to start but I am so glad I did. Sanderson continues to amaze me with his ability to write such unique and captivating stories. I'm not sure I can put into words exactly why this book is so good but I will give it a try.

 This book is everything an epic fantasy should be. A extraordinary world,  an unique magic system, and fascinating characters, who unbeknownst to them, have a very important roles in the destiny of their world.

What makes it even better is that is not filled with pages of endless description. You know what I'n referring to if you have ever read Lord of the Rings. Don't get me wrong. I love LOTR but I did skim through quite a bit of the lengthier descriptive parts. His style of writing really keeps you engaged as a reader and moves the story along at a pace the makes reading 1001 pages enjoyable.

Sanderson has created a world unlike any I have read before, filled with unique cultures and beliefs. A place were only women can read but yet are somehow still not treated as equals. A place wear the color of your eyes determines how you will be treated. I found myself wanting to know more about their world. The belief system is so different from anything I have read which made the book all that much more interesting. I could have seriously read an entire book just about the different cultures and religions of this world. I didn't even need a story because I found it all just so intriguing.

But it's not just about their culture, the characters have so much depth. This makes for a really compelling story. One that draws you in and makes you care about them and their future. This book actually follows several different characters which at first made it a little more difficult to get in to. In the beginning it jumped around to so many different characters and times and places. It was a lot to take in. But then he starts to focus on just a couple characters and I quickly became enthralled by their lives.

My favorite Character was Kaladin. I felt like I could really relate to him and his situation. I liked how we slowly got a peak into his life with flash backs to the years before he ended up as a bridge man. I almost feel like this book could have just focused on him and been slightly shorter, but the truth is the other characters and events were important for the plot too. The story couldn't have unfolded the way it did with out their role in the book.

There are still things I don't really understand and questions that still need to be answered, which I'm sure will happen as the story unfolds in the next 4 books. I read somewhere that there are supposed to be 10 books total in this series. He is writing one about every 3-4 years and the third book comes out in November. At that rate I'm going to be in my 60's before he finishes them all. For some reason that really bums me out. Probably because I know just how good they are going to be and I really want to read more about this world. I loved it!

If you are looking into trying out an epic fantasy this would be a great one to start with. Now I just have to figure out how to get my hands on book two!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Shadow Throne


The Shadow Throne
By Jennifer A. Nielsen

This is the third book in the Ascendancy Trilogy and I thought it was a great conclusion to this series.
In this book Jaron's country is at war and he must find a way to end the war and save his country.

I really like how it all turned out. There were plenty of twist and turns to keep it interesting. One thing I have really enjoyed about this series is that Jaron always seemed to have something up his sleeve. Even when things looked the bleakest, it was all part of his plan. I will admit that this book felt a bit more predictable to me but I think that was because I have gotten so used to the characters. I've learned how they think so it was easier to guess what they would do next. In that way it was less surprising when things happened but I still thought it was a fun read.

I'd recommend this series to anybody. This would be a great series for the middle school crowd. Plenty of action, intrigue and a tiny bit of romance.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Wonderstruck


Wonderstruck
By Brian Selznick

This 600 plus page book only took me about 3 hours to read. It helped that 2/3 of the book was filled with pictures.  I really loved how this story was told. The pictures really did tell a story all their own.

I original picked up this book because I saw a preview for the movie and was so intrigued that I immediately wanted to read the book. It follows the story of two kids, Ben and Rose, whose stories take place 50 years apart. Ben in the 1970s and Rose in the 1920s. Ben who has lost his mother and longs to meet his father who he has never met. Rose who is kept isolated because of her deafness  and is drawn to a famous actress from the silent films of the 1920s. They both run away to New York in search of answers. Ben's story is told through words and Rose's is told through the pictures. It was the perfect combination. I love how their stories are connected even though they grew up 50 years apart. Plus it was so interesting to get a glimpse into deaf culture. I am really excited to see how they turn this into a film.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Thousand Splendid Suns


A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini

This is one of those books that I think everyone should read. It was heartbreaking but I feel like it gives you a glimpse into the lives of the people who live in war torn countries like Afghanistan.

The book follows the lives of two women over the course of about thirty years who live in Kabul, Afghanistan. It shows what it would have been like to live through a time where their country was constantly being fought over for control.

 Starting with the communist coup, to the Soviets, to all the different Warlords fight for power and on to the Taliban. There are so many different groups of people living in the area it seems as though they have always struggled to get along and live in peace. It was hard to read about the terrible things they went through.

The Taliban was by far the worse and it was so upsetting to see the way that women were treated. What was so sad that about that whole situation was just how happy the people were when the Taliban arrived and stopped the Warlord's endless war. Little did they know just how awful their lives would become after they took control. Women couldn't even get proper medical care because the majority of the Hospitals were for men only. The only Women's Hospital had no electricity, water or drugs.

Even though this story was very depressing I did feel like there was hope at the end. After the events of September 11th, The United States came in and drove out the Taliban. Women were able to have some freedoms again and it felt like things were changing for the better.  I can only hope that this has stayed true all these years later. It just breaks my heart that they have had to struggle to survive for so many years.

Even though this is a fictional story,  I thought it was a great lesson in history. I like historical fiction so much because it takes something in the past and brings it to life. Really makes you feel what life would have been like for someone living through that era or event. This book does that an more. It is so well written. I am glad that I took time to read this story.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Troublemaker


Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
by Leah Remini

I don't read much non-fiction, but I saw a couple episodes of her show on the same subject and was fascinated. I decided to pick up the book and read more about her experiences with Scientology. This may have not been the most well written book I have ever read but boy was it fascinating. I only took me about a day to read it because I couldn't put it down. There are a lot of things she brings up in this book about Scientology that I found very sad. I was both surprised and unsurprised that she stuck with the religion for so long. Surprised because even at a young age she was treated terribly by them but Unsurprised because of how much they control their followers. I still don't completely understand everything she was talking about because it was just really strange. Maybe she could have explained the auditing process a little more in depth. Towards the end of the book she kept saying that they kept her for hours reading policies but it didn't really understand what that meant or what the purpose was. It was a little confusing for me. But I can also  understand not wanting to get into the details of religion that for years you were told only certain people were allowed to have all the knowledge; those who went through all the steps and classes to move higher up the bridge. That would be a hard transition. I really liked how honest she was about her life. She admitted her character flaws and embraced who she was with out hesitation. I found this very refreshing. This was definitely an easy Non-fiction book to read, probably because the subject was so interesting to me. I would recommend it, if you are at all curious about what she went through.