Brandon Sanderson is one of my favourite all-time authors, and today’s post is all about the 5th book in his Mistborn series, Shadows of Self. The Mistborn series is enough of a reason to fall in love with his writing, but I have also dabbled in a few other books of his now and they have all lived up to the excellent standard! I’ve read a total of nine of his books now (granted, six are Mistborn) and he hasn’t put a foot wrong with me yet. I also have a few more books on the TBR to try in the near future.
Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.
This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.
Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.
Where The Alloy of Law is reasonably separate from the previous Mistborn books (events in those books are now history/legend), in Shadows of Self we see little elements tie back into the original series. I really loved this! Whilst I would have been happy for each book mini-series to go their own way, I like that the narrative is going back to its roots. It has been a long time since I read the first three books, but even so, I could keep track of what was going on and recognise some friendly old faces.
I really enjoy how Brandon Sanderson has modernised the series from the original books. The concept was a stroke of literary genius anyway, but being willing to adapt the intricately built world to allow for technological advancements and such to up the ante on the magic is just something else. Most authors would be frightened to mess with such a core element to the novel, but not Sanderson. And boy, am I glad he did! It makes an already intricately detailed world all the more plausible – and you know how much I love my world-building!
I wasn’t sure where the Steris/Wax engagement was going to go, or what I thought of it, but the pair has really grown on me in this book. The pair couldn’t be more opposite in their ways, yet strangely they complement each other in ways I didn’t expect them to. I do feel a bit sorry for Marasi though – I feel she has been cast aside a little in this book. It’s a shame because she’s brilliant, but she still manages to shine where she can regardless.
Wayne is, at this point, my favourite character in the series. He is very funny, has a skewed view of what is acceptable behaviour and what is not all and gets away with it too! He doesn’t have the best moral compass in the world (completely opposite to Wax) but regardless of what he does, his heart is in the right place. As a character, he is very easy to warm to.
If you love Brandon Sanderson’s other books or have read and enjoyed earlier books in the Mistborn series then I highly recommend reading Shadows of Self (and any other book in the series really)! I have also read and loved The Bands of Mourning, the sixth book in the series. Sharing my thoughts on that instalment is being saved for another day though.
I’m really excited to be sharing my review of The Alloy of Law with you today! If you are a regular reader you will know that Brandon Sanderson has become one of my favourite authors of all time. The first books/series of his I read is the Mistborn trilogy which precedes The Alloy of Law. I read those books as a teenager so it has taken me a while to get back into the series. Honestly, too long! It was worth the wait though!
Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.
Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.
One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.
After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.
It’s natural to be dubious about how an author attempts to replicate the brilliance of a previous book or series. It’s all-to-easy to end up being disappointed because a reader’s expectations are far too high. I did have very high expectations for this additional series, but Brandon Sanderson pulled off recreating the magic of the first series and updating it to fit a whole new character base and setting. More often than not, this doesn’t work as it doesn’t have the same feel as the original, but that’s not the case with The Alloy of Law in my opinion at all.
I love the steampunk/western vibe of The Alloy of Law. It has a significantly more modern feel than the previous books; an element I really enjoyed. I loved the Mistborn trilogy and I wasn’t sure how well I would take to the jump in time period between the novels. I can hand on heart say that I think I preferred it to the original series.
There is more to this second series than the first, namely, the inclusion of Twinborn ability. I don’t remember much if any of this in the Mistborn trilogy, but it’s a huge part of this modern reboot. I think it adds a lot of depth to the magic system already established and fits with a modernisation/advancement theme. It’s a natural fit with the new storyline set in the future – more is going to be known about the ability and it will have been cultured into society as an ‘advancement’.
The dynamic between the two main characters, Wax and Wayne is hilarious. It’s one of my favourite things about the storyline as a whole. The two work together so well even though they are polar opposites as individuals. Wax, the lawman, cannot leave an injustice and always takes it upon himself to right a wrong. He can’t leave alone and walk away even if he wants to. I admire that about him – it’s one of his more altruistic points. Equally, however, he isn’t perfect at all. He despises his social stature and the expectations of society about him; he actively pushes the boundaries of propriety as well which is very funny to read.
Wayne, on the other hand, is Wayne. He is wicked with a firearm and excellent at going undercover but as a person, he is 100% more laid back than Wax. His ‘trading’ (stealing) habit is trademark to his character and it’s funny because he has a strange sense of what has value. He doesn’t steal the conventional items for the most part, but what he picks up does miraculously prove invaluable to the duo.
The biggest advocate of how much I love this book is how quickly I have gone on to read the rest of the series (published so far). I read the next two books within just over two months after finishing this one. With my reading schedule, that’s impressive! I wouldn’t hesitate to go back and read it again either – I enjoyed it that much!
Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary weekly update post! I hope you have all had a good week as well?
At the beginning of the week, I shared a promo post for a book I read last year. It has been re-written and published as Escaping Demons and has been re-launched with another blog tour. If you are interested in the sound of the book, you can check out my promo post linked above and in that post is also a link to my review of the previous edition.
Next, I shared my Reading List for September. I still can’t believe it’s September already; this year seems to have flown by. This month I am reading a couple of books for blog tours, one at the request of an author and the rest are all on my Beat the Backlist challenge. If you haven’t already, you can check out my reading list linked above.
On Friday I shared my review of a recent read as part of the organised blog tour. I read Mindworm last month in anticipation of the early September blog tour date. Fans of the supernatural should definitely be interested in this novella, so if you are, please check out my review.
As of last week’s Sunday Summary post I was around halfway through Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. I had read the previous half over the course of a week, and put my reading progress for that week to shame as I finished the rest between Sunday evening and Monday alone! I really got into the ending and did NOT want to put the book down. Without a doubt, I’ll be reading the rest of the series before long…
After that, I started reading Lord of the Flies by William Golding. So far I am around 22% of the way through. I have actually borrowed this from my library electronically and as a result, I am reading this book on my phone. It’s not my favourite method I have to say, but I’ll make it work. The book itself is okay – perfectly readable. I’m not loving it, but not hating it either. I just need to give myself a nudge to read a bit more of it sometimes.
Lastly, I started a book I am due to be reviewing soon for a blog tour yesterday. I signed up to review Freedom of the Creed by Nicholas Coleridge and I’m enjoying it a lot more than Lord of the Flies. I’m 13% through this one, so I’m only a few chapters in, but it’s a lot easier to read. Reading this western-themed fantasy novel is going to be my priority for the next few days.
I’ve been good again this week and no new books to report!
Since I have a review towards the end of the week I want to publish an opinion post at the beginning of the week. I’ve been thinking about a topic for a little while now and I think it’ll be fun to not only share my opinion but also hear back from you guys on it. The topic? Book Subscription Boxes: Yay or Nay?
On Friday I will be sharing my thoughts of my current read, Freedom of the Creed, as part of the upcoming blog tour. My first impression of the book is great, so I can’t wait to finish reading and publish my review for you all to check out. I hope you can join me for that.
Last, but certainly not least, I’ll be rounding off the week with another Sunday Summary post.
That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary! What have you been reading this week?
Hi everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post. You may be a bit confused as to why this post is going live today given that I said it would be published first thing tomorrow morning in last week’s post. Well, long story short, I got my days mixed up. I have already had a blog tour this week and I have one next week; I knew what dates my posts were but completely got my days wrong! Perhaps I should have checked before I published, but never mind! I blame the bank holiday weekend throwing me off…
Anyway, let’s get into what posts I shared this week. My first post of the week was a review of The God Game by Danny Tobey. I read this book back in March this year following receipt of an ARC copy courtesy of Gollancz. If you enjoy or think you’ll enjoy a combination of science-fiction, thriller and YA then I definitely recommend giving my review a read. Then, on Friday, I shared my thoughts on a second book I’ve read – Grubane by Karl Drinkwater. This post was shared as part of the ongoing blog tour and I really enjoyed writing the post and the feedback I received from it!
This week I’ve read around half of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. I’m hoping to get to around 75% before turning in tonight though. It’s only about 180 pages so far, but it is progress. I’ve actually spent a lot of time doing other things this week – crochet, watching TV (a rare occurrence in my house!) and even working late. Thankfully not too much of the latter! I’m really enjoying the book and it’s proving easy reading. I shouldn’t be surprised by that – I haven’t disliked a single book of his… and I’ve read a few!
I still have a couple of books on this month’s TBR to read. Thankfully both are short, so although I might just creep over into the beginning of September it shouldn’t set me back at all.
Glad to say that once again, there are no new additions here this week! I would say that I should be thinking of the money I’m saving, but unfortunately, that’s not the case – it’s just getting spent on other things!
My first blog post of next week is a feature post in the ongoing blog tour for Escaping Demons by Killian Wolf. I would have signed up to review, but since I had already committed to taking part in a couple of other tours with reviews, I couldn’t this time. I’m still looking forward to featuring this book on my blog and hopefully, the book catches your eye!
Midweek I will be sharing my TBR for September. I was just saying to my parents today that I can’t believe this is rolling around next week already. It doesn’t seem fair! The not being able to do anything thanks to ol’ corona makes it feel like we haven’t really had much of a year so far.
On Friday I will be foregoing my regular Shelf Control post (already on hold from this week thanks to my mix-up) and sharing another review. This week’s blog tour review is for another recent read, Mindworm by David Pollard.
Last, but not least, I’ll be sharing my Sunday Summary post as expected.
Don’t worry, I’ve fact-checked this all this week, so I’m not unintentionally lying to you!
That’s all from me in this week’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you have had a good one and enjoy the last day of the weekend tomorrow.
I can’t believe another month has flown by and I’m sharing August’s reading list with you already! It only feels like five minutes since I published the last one.
My reading has been a little on the reserved side for the last few months. Given everything else I’ve had going on I think it’s completely understandable why. I’m still keeping busy with the house and work and all, but this month I want to make a push to clawing back towards this year’s reading goal if I can. As of writing this post I am 10 books behind schedule. Even if I can’t get back on target, I’d like to say I made an effort!
With that in mind, I’m going to try and read a few more, slightly shorter books than my usual this month. Two books are for upcoming blog tours and four more are on the list for my Beat the Backlist challenge. I wouldn’t say deliberately choosing something slightly lighter is cheating. If I dedicated a month to reading short stories out of nowhere, that would be a fair call. We’re still talking books that are mostly three-hundred-and-something pages at least, so they aren’t short to say the least. I just don’t fancy getting bogged down in five hundred page epics this month.
So, would you like to see what’s on August’s reading list?
Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.
Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.
This is actually a carryover from July, although it was a book I picked up pretty spontaneously. Long story short, I’ve just gone back to work and one of my colleagues read the book during lockdown. He says himself that he isn’t that much of a reader but he couldn’t put this one down… and I can see why! It’s brilliant! I read around 40% last month and have been reading more since the beginning of August. Realistically I am going to finish this very, very soon, but since I’ll have read most of it in August and I need to document it somewhere, it’s on this month’s reading list.
Major Grubane is commander of the Aurikaa, the most feared cruiser in the UFS arsenal.
His crew is handpicked and fiercely loyal. Together, they have never failed a mission, and their reputation precedes them.
But this time he’s been sent to a key planet that is caught up in political tensions at the centre of the freedom debate. What he thought was a simple diplomatic mission turns out to be the hardest choice of his career. His orders: eliminate one million inhabitants of the planet, and ensure their compliance.
Grubane has also rediscovered an ancient game called chess, and plays it against the ship AI as a form of mental training. But maybe it could be more than that as he finds himself asking questions. Can orders be reinterpreted? How many moves ahead is it possible for one man to plan? And how many players are involved in this game?
Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.
I discovered this author when I read another short story, Helene, for a blog tour back in March this year. Since reviewing that book I have also received copies of the main Lost Solace series from the author to read in exchange for review. I haven’t gotten round to them yet, but I knew when I saw this second upcoming blog tour I wanted to read more based around the universe before I dive into the main series!
I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this at the end of the month, so I have plenty of time to read Grubane.
Mindworm – David Pollard
The placid life of a college librarian is plunged into a desperate fight for survival when he witnesses the death of his only friend. Suddenly he is forced to confront disturbing changes in his nature and appetites and their consequences.Suspected of murder and pursued by an implacable police detective he runs – but is he running from the law or from himself?
Mindworm is my second blog tour read; although my post isn’t due to be published until the beginning of next month. I wanted to read it in plenty of time before my post is due to go live! Mindworm is a psychological thriller novel and having read some great ones lately, I’m really in the mood for another good read from this genre!
A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.
Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.
But some can never stop searching for answers.
Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?
Sleeping Giants was on last month’s TBR, but since I didn’t want to hang onto This is Going to Hurt too long on account of it being a loan, I chose to delay reading this until this month. It’s also the first read of the month that will go towards my completion of the Beat the Backlist challenge. Sleeping Giants has been on my TBR since April 2016… so it’s definitely overdue reading!
Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.
Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.
And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.
He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.
At 386 pages, Steelheart is the longest book on this month’s TBR. It’s quite common for me to pick up books that are around or even well over 500 pages, so it’s short(ish) by my standards. I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson, as you may have guessed by the number of books of his I’ve read in the last year! Steelheart has been on my TBR for a long time as well – since January 2016! My Beat the Backlist challenge is the one I am most behind in and the TBR is growing slightly faster than it’s shrinking… I want to work on that and so a focus on some of the older books on my TBR kills two birds with one stone. Plus, if they’re that old I really do need to pull my finger out!
At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate; this far from civilization the boys can do anything they want. Anything. They attempt to forge their own society, failing, however, in the face of terror, sin and evil. And as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far from reality as the hope of being rescued. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies is perhaps our most memorable novel about “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.”
My recent Shelf Control posts have made me very aware that I have a cluster of classics that I need to read as part of my Beat the Backlist challenge. I don’t want to find myself trying to read them all one after another. With that in mind, I decided to include one in August’s reading list. Lord of the Flies is probably one of the ones I am looking forward to reading the most – I can’t wait to let you know what I think of it.
Stuck in a virtual dreamworld called The Loop, a man named Quantum Hughes struggles to free himself from a glitch that forces him to live the same day on repeat. His life changes when a mysterious letter arrives one morning from a woman named Frances Euphoria, the first human player he has made contact with in a very long time. Once Frances appears, members of a murder guild known as the Reapers begin surfacing in The Loop, hoping to capture Quantum or worse — kill him. To further complicate matters, The Loop itself is doing everything it can to stop Quantum from finding the hidden logout point by turning everything in the virtual dreamworld against him.
With time running out, will Quantum break free from his digital coma before he’s captured or killed by the Reapers? Who is Frances Euphoria, and what does she actually know about how long Quantum has been trapped?
The Feedback Loop Series takes place thirty years before the Life is a Beautiful Thing Series. It shares the same world, but is a standalone series that focus on dream-based virtual reality worlds and the people who are trapped in them. The next book in the series will be called Steampunk is Dead, and will be released in the fall.
Last but certainly not least, I thought I could try and squeeze one more book onto the list to round off the month. I hadn’t actually realised that The Feedback Loop was that short! I didn’t expect it to weigh in just under 200 pages, but there we go! I’ve liked the sound of this sci-fi novel even though I haven’t read any of the books it relates to. I think it’s the perfect opportunity to give it a go and then if I enjoy it, I can consider the rest of them!
So, guys, that’s my reading list for August! It looks long compared to my previous lists, but in terms of page count I don’t think it is any longer than my previous ones.
Hey guys! In my Sunday Summary post a couple of days ago I told you that I was going to be sharing a little bit more of a fun post this week. It’s been absolutely ages since I’ve done a tag and I read a great one over on The Book Dutchesses’s blog last week. Please go and check out Candyce’s answers to this tag – I’m sure you’ll enjoy her take on the post as much as I did!
It’s the Stay at Home tag… only appropriate in light of all the quarantining we have had to do lately! I’m glad to share that it has actually come to an end here in the Isle of Man. The borders are still closed, but we’ve had no active cases for about two weeks and no new positive tests for nearly four weeks as of this post.
Laying In Bed: A Book You Read In A Day
I certainly haven’t had the chance to read a book in a day during quarantine. Despite being at home, I am fortunate enough to still be able to work remotely and so I haven’t had the time. I’ll also come on to this later on in the post, but there is one other pretty big thing that’s happened since the pandemic started which has taken up my time.
The last book I read in a day, as far as I recall, was The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. Technically I read it across two days, but within 24 hours so it still counts as far as I’m concerned. I have read other short stories and novellas since then, but that feels like a bit of a cheat to count them. The Silent Patient is around 325 pages, so a good size book to have crammed into a day!
Snacking: A Guilty Pleasure Read
I’m not a big fan of books that are heavily based around character relationships, but the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy is the exception to the rule and for that reason, they are my guilty pleasure. The relationship itself is about companionship and belonging with someone who has the same ideals as you… even though the rest of the world thinks it’s impossible. It’s not lewd or even particularly sexual, which is why I enjoy this series so much!
Netflix: A Series You Want To Start
Regular readers of my blog will know that I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson. I’ve read eight books of his so far across three series’ (or future series in the case of Elantris). One series that I haven’t started yet is Skyward. I love the fantasy novels of his that I have read so far, but I’m looking forward to seeing how well he writes science-fiction. I bought this book just before lockdown, so an apt feature here.
Deep Clean: A Book That’s Been On Your TBR Forever
As Candyce said in her post, I could also write an incredibly long list of books that have been on my TBR forever! I am trying to work through them (albeit slowly at the moment), but I’ll get there eventually. The book I’m featuring here could equally have been a candidate for the previous topic, but it’s best suited here. Not saying I am trying to get through every Sanderson book written ever or anything, but…
Animal Crossing: A Book You Bought Because Of The Hype
The last book I bought based on fabulous reviews and hype in the book blogging community was Circe by Madeleine Miller and honestly, it was a little bit of a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it. It was a perfectly acceptable read. I just didn’t think it lived up to the hype. There’s a good lesson learned there because I won’t be so quick to make the same mistake again. Circe was a little out of my comfort zone as I have scarce knowledge of Greek gods at best. Ironically, I have gone on to buy more books because I enjoy the topic. Next time I read a massive hype about a book, I’ll seriously consider whether it’s my cup of tea in the first place. If the book doesn’t appeal to me in its own right, then I shouldn’t buy it.
Productivity: A Book You Learned From Or Had An Impact On You
The last book that had an impact on me is one I reviewed during quarantine. I’m a huge fan of books based around WW2… morbid I know, but I’m fascinated. Cilka’s Journey taught me something I didn’t know – that some prisoners from the camps after they were ‘liberated’ were forced into labour camps elsewhere for several years afterwards for ‘aiding the Nazi’s’. They basically went from one hell to another. It’s hard to imagine having to go through that!
FaceTime: A Book You Were Gifted
I’ve been gifted a few books over the years. I feel sorry for family members who have ever considered trying to get me a book as a gift because knowing what I have and don’t have would be an impossible task. I only really get books if I specifically ask for them – otherwise, it’s a trusty voucher. I’m not complaining, I take great delight in spending them! I love wandering around my local Waterstones… especially if it’s spending money that isn’t mine!
One book I was gifted that I wasn’t expecting was Dune by Frank Herbert. I got this about three years ago for my birthday from a collection put together by my work colleagues. It’s a science-fiction novel, and it’s a bit of a classic of the genre, so I would have probably discovered and added this to my TBR in my own time anyway. I hadn’t heard of it when I got it, but it was such a great choice for me and I was really chuffed to get it.
Self Care: One Thing You’ve Done Recently To Look After Yourself
I definitely can’t pinpoint this to one, as I’ve had some pretty big changes in my life since lockdown began. The most significant act of self-care I’ve done is to move house. Now you’re probably thinking… that doesn’t sound like self-care at all! It has been stressful – especially so as I couldn’t have any help from friends or family. It was worth it though. I’ve upgraded from my flat so I have more space and more potential to make this place my own… plus, it’s an investment in my future. That definitely is self-care, just a bit more long term than the traditional definition perhaps!
In the short term, I have picked up crochet again and just recently finished making a baby blanket for a friend and then a jumper for myself! It’s been a good few years since I last picked it up, so I’m really happy with how well I’ve managed to get back into it. I’m also working on an afghan throw for my bed made up of all different coloured/patterned squares. It’s a huge project and still a work in progress!
Bonus: An Upcoming Release You’re Looking Forward To
Predictable I know, but I am sneaking in another Brandon Sanderson book here! The fourth book of The Stormlight Archives is due to be published in November this year and I’m really excited about it! I’ve read the first book, The Way of Kings so far, but I’ve been holding off reading more of the series since he’s not even halfway through writing them yet! I think I can justify treating myself to the second book now…
So, those are my answers to the Stay at Home Book Tag! It was nice to write a more casual post. If you like reading these, let me know in the comments and I’ll make an effort to publish some more! If you want to take part in the tag, please do and tag me in so I can see your answers!
Are there any upcoming releases you are looking forward to?
Hi guys and welcome back to another blog post – a book review! In today’s post I’ll be sharing my thoughts on a highly-rated read from last year… Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. It’s no secret that Brandon Sanderson is one of my favourite fantasy authors. Since my teenage years I have read no less than eight of his books, including Elantris, and I’ve given them all a five star rating. He’s a brilliant writer of vastly different stories, and we are here to talk about one of those today.
So, without further preamble, let’s jump into my thoughts on Elantris.
Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.
Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.
But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.
A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.
Elantris has all the elements I love in a fantasy novel – magic, a political threat and an altruistic hero. I praise the magic Brandon Sanderson creates in his worlds a lot and for good reason. Although built on the same principle, the magic he incorporates into his stories has a kind of physical element to it. There are rules to its use and how it works and so it is almost scientific in nature. That might not seem very interesting, but I really like that about it. I like how it can’t be used easily to cover up inconvenient plot holes, but most importantly, it gives it credibility.
I’ve read all the Mistborn books published to date, as well as The Way of Kings from the Stormlight Archives. They are all great for their own reasons, but I love the individuality each story has. These books were written at various stages of Sanderson’s writing career, with Elantris being the earliest. If I hadn’t known that already, would I have been able to tell? Not really. I saw a few reviews and comments about this being his ‘weakest’ book, but if that’s the case then I seriously look forward to catching up on the rest of his books!
Elantris differs from Sanderson’s later books in that the focus of the story revolves around one geographical location, Kae/Elantris. There is a decent amount of world-building and inclusion of other nations within the narrative, but perhaps a smidgen less than some other books. The inclusion of these nations stems from political persons that travel to Kae. Personally, I really enjoyed Sarene’s character. She is far from the political pawn you expect her to be from the outset. When her marriage falls through in the absence of her betrothed, she doesn’t wallow in self-pity. She steps up to protect the interests of her country against an oppressor in other ways, all the while investigating prince Raoden’s disappearance.
Elantris is a respectably long book (over 600 pages), yet I read this in just over a week. I really enjoyed the narrative style and the storyline. What’s even better is at some point in the future, this is going to become a series! I can’t wait to see where the author takes this and what happens next…
Have you read Elantris, or any other novels by Brandon Sanderson? Let me know in the comments!
I feel really good about today’s Sunday Summary post and the updates I have for you all this week. I hope you have all had a good one?
I began the week with a fun Top Ten Tuesday post. I don’t know about you, but in light of the current situation, I find myself thinking a lot about the books I could dive into to forget all the madness. If you do but are looking for some inspiration on what to pick up, then my top ten books for a little escapism might be of interest to you. Even if you already know your books of choice, you’re welcome to come and have a nosy at my recommendations too!
On Friday I shared another Shelf Control post. It’s unusual of me to have a collection of short stories on the TBR – I tend to read longer novels. There are a few exceptions to the rule, however. I received a beautiful copy of this week’s book from my aunt for my birthday three years ago.
My main read over the course of this week has been The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson. I did briefly start this last week to change up what I was reading midweek. I had read the first few chapters, taking me to 13%. As expected, I loved this book! I’ve really enjoyed reading the 2nd era Mistborn books over the last few months. I just have to wait for the last one, due out next year!
I’ve also made a start on my next read, Boom Time by Michelle Lowe. The intro is quite wacky, so I’m interested to see where the rest of the book goes. If it lives up to the blurb, I think it’ll be a good one!
In addition to physical reads, I’ve also made further progress with Moon Over Soho this week. I’ve slowed down a little compared to the progress I have been making in the last couple of weeks, but I’ve still managed to listen to about half of this. That takes me to about 75% of the way through, so fingers crossed I’ll have this finished shortly.
As with last week’s Sunday Summary post, I’ve been very good again! I’ve been keeping myself distracted with the books I have and finishing my crochet project, so there are no new books on the TBR this week. Here’s my finished crochet baby blanket, which I am really proud of! My friend really liked it and it’s had a lot of love on Instagram as well, which is a bonus!
I want to try and work on some of the reviews I have outstanding next week. With that in mind, I am planning on posting my thoughts on two books. The first is going to be an audiobook review for Six of Crows by Leight Bardugo. I listened to this a little while ago now, however, the book and characters are still fresh in my mind from listening to the second part of the duology recently.
The second review of the week will be for the start of a series I devoured last year. I was a fan of Laini Taylor’s even before reading her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Now, I am even more so! You can find out why in that review!
This Friday I’ll be sharing another First Lines Friday post. The past few posts have featured books that I read some time ago, so this week I’m changing it up. I’ll feature a book that is currently on my TBR instead (and probably torment myself over how good it is and subsequently want to read it). That’s the life of a reader… what can I say?
That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you have enjoyed catching up with me! What are you currently reading?
Hey guys and welcome back to this week’s Sunday Summary post! Yes, I’m back to normal scheduling this week! How have you been? What have you been doing to entertain yourselves in these strange times? In normal circumstances, I would have been spending the day with my parents. I do every Sunday generally, but I would have spent today with them especially as it’s my dad’s birthday! I am gutted that I couldn’t get to spend the day with him (and my mum) to celebrate, but I did see them briefly to drop off some birthday presents and a takeaway of his choice since we couldn’t go out!
What have I been up to earlier in the week? Well, aside from working from home, I’ve been reading, continuing with my baby blanket crochet project and blogging of course! My first blog post of the week was a review of Circe by Madeline Miller. I actually enjoyed sharing my mixed feelings about the book… and found that I am not the only one that felt the same way about it!
On Friday I shared the opening lines to a book and series I started years ago. I also discovered that book 4 of the series is due out next year, so I might just have to re-read the first three books. It’s been a LONG time since I picked these up. I’m going to need a refresh.
In last week’s Sunday Summary post, I shared that my current read was Magical Intelligence by M. K. Wiseman. This has been the case most of the week. It’s not the smallest book – 426 pages according to Goodreads, and I had just started it that day last week. I could have read it faster, but I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I didn’t. I’m finding staying at home has made me quite restless and it’s affecting my attention span. That’s where the crocheting has come in handy really – it’s a break and change of activity!
For a break, I did also start reading The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson one night this week. I managed 13% of this one before falling asleep – so a respectable start! Since I have started it, this is the book I’ll be continuing on with next. I’ve loved reading The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self in the past couple of months, so I’m hoping I might find some improved concentration on this one!
If not, it’s not the end of the world. As I said, I’ve also been working on my baby blanket. Just because I am crocheting though, it doesn’t mean I’m not consuming books too! This week I managed to finish Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London and I’m about a quarter of the way through the sequel, Moon Over Soho. I’m so glad I chose to ‘read’ these as audiobooks! The narrator really brings all the characters to life.
I have absolutely nothing to report here this week – I haven’t even so much as added a book to the TBR!
It’s a rare occasion, so let’s enjoy it while it lasts!
I want to write something fun next week, so I’m lining up a Top Ten Tuesday post to fit the bill. A lot of people read as a form of escapism… I certainly do! So, I’ve decided my Top Ten Tuesday post is going to be recommendations for anyone looking for escapism in these uncertain (and unpleasant) times.
On Friday it’s the turn of my Shelf Control regular feature. This week’s featured ‘book’ is actually the first edition of a large collection of stories. These stories aren’t necessarily as we know them today; however, a lot of modern stories will have their roots with these early translations. I’m not giving you any more clues than that – it’s a big one as it is!
As always, my trusty update Sunday Summary post will round up the week!
Now that’s this week round up complete, I’m off to make myself another cuppa and crack on with my reading! What have you been reading this week?
I can’t believe it’s the beginning of April already! It doesn’t seem like three months ago I was setting myself targets for this year – but it is! I don’t feel like I am doing too great with one of those either, so I’m hoping to address that in this month’s reading list!
At the beginning of the year, I set myself a couple of challenges – the Goodreads Reading Challenge (as I do every year) and new this year, the Beat the Backlist Challenge. I also said I wanted to borrow from my local library more too.
The Goodreads Challenge is going well – I’m on track for my target of 80 books by the end of the year. It’s the other two challenges I’ve fallen behind in… not for a lack of trying! I’ve picked up 5 Beat the Backlist books, but I’ve had to DNF two of them. So, I’ve only read 3 out of my target 25 books. I suppose the aim is to clear 25 items off this list, but counting DNF’s feels like cheating so I’m not counting them. I have also tried to borrow from my local library electronically for some of the books I am reading, but they just don’t have the ones I am after in their library. Obviously, with everything going on right now the actual library is closed, so my options are limited with this right now.
So, this month I am going to be working a little harder on the Beat the Backlist Challenge, because that I can do! I’ve kept my blog tour schedule nice and light for other reasons – I was supposed to be moving house soon. Clearly, that’s also not happening right now! However, I would be daft not to take the opportunity to catch up with some of the older items on my TBR.
The city of iRemember shimmers in the desert haze, watched over by the Bureau, a government agency that maintains control through memory surveillance and little pink pills made from the narcotic plant Tranquelle.
It looks like an oasis under its geodesic dome, but the city is under siege. ‘Off-Gridder’ insurgents are fighting to be forgotten.
Bureau Inspector Icara Swansong is on a mission to neutralise the threat. Her investigation leads her into iRemember’s secret underbelly, where she finds herself a fugitive from the very system she had vowed to protect. She has to learn new rules: trust no one. Behind every purple Tranquelle stalk lurk double-agents.
A sci-fi noir with a psychedelic twist, iRemember explores the power the past holds over us and the fragility of everything: what is, what once was, and what will be.
I actually finished March’s TBR a little early (since I DNF’d Good Omens at 47%) so I have actually made a healthy start on this book already. I am getting the two blog tour reads done first, just in case things do ease off here and the move is possible. I’m not holding my breath, but I don’t want to count on it and then get myself in trouble as a result of being ill-prepared.
As it happens, my blog tour post for this book is due on Sunday, so naturally, this book is the first on my list. I’m really enjoying it so far, and you’ll be able to get my full thoughts on it on Sunday!
When you are a member of Britain’s first team of wizard spies, every mission might be your last. But as the dawning of the 20th century draws ever nearer, magic grows weak. Violectric Dampening, the clash of man-made electricity with the Gifts of magekind, threatens M.I.’s existence. And if that isn’t enough, they’ve now been discharged from their own government. Obsolete. Distrusted.
And now hunted by one of their own.
Myra Wetherby has always feared her so-called fits, strange visions of people and places that she cannot explain. It is the emotional manipulation, however, a strange empathic connection to those around her, which threatens her very sanity. A danger to her family, Myra runs away, falling straight into the hands of the newly ousted Magical Intelligence team. Who just so happen to need an ability like hers.
Which makes Myra one of them . . . whether she likes it or not.
This is my second and last blog tour of the month. My post for this book isn’t going live until the end of the month, but I’m still reading it nice and early.
The synopsis sounds really good – and quite unusual! That’s why I wanted to read it and share a review for the tour coming up later this month. It sounds like it blends fantasy with mystery, two genres I really enjoy reading.
Bootleggers, coppers, and no good, dirty gangsters! During Prohibition, the parties were wild, the alcohol was flowing, and danger was never far away. Pierce Landcross has been brought to the fast-paced future of New York City, 1926. His abductor, the Trickster, claims he’s hiding Pierce for his own protection, but cutthroats and femme fatales lurk around every corner. Lost in a strange land, Pierce vows to keep his nose clean, but that doesn’t last long when he falls into the bootlegging racket. Pierce has to quickly adapt to a world full of diesel-fueled machines, airships, moving picture shows, and clashes with rival gangs. At the same time, he has to elude a hunter from his own time sent to kill him!
I downloaded a copy of Boom Time from BookSirens as I really like the sound of the synopsis. I really enjoyed learning about the Roaring 20’s in history, and this sounds like it takes a lot of inspiration from it! Okay, it’s a very exaggerated version, but why the heck not?
My love of fantasy novels is really shining through in this TBR, and I don’t feel ashamed of the fact either!
Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.
The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metal minds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.
My first book contributing to my Beat the Backlist Challenge is The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson. You may recall that I have been reading the earlier books in this second half of the series over the last few months. I bought my copy of this book last month knowing I would get to it shortly. It makes sense to pick this up whilst the rest of the series is fresh in my mind!
The year is 1665. Black Death ravages London. A killer stalks the streets in a plague doctor’s hood and mask…
When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly agrees to take on the case. But the horrific remains tell him this is no isolated death. The killer’s mad appetites are part of a master plan that could destroy London and reveal the dark secrets of Charlie’s own past.
Now the thief taker must find this murderous mastermind before the plague obliterates the evidence street by street. This terrifying pursuit will take Charlie deep into the black underbelly of old London, where alchemy, witchcraft and blood-spells collide.
In a city drowned in darkness, death could be the most powerful magic of all.
The Thief Taker is my second BtB entry. I really debated with picking this up in light of its inclusion of plague and current events. I decided to stick with it though because I do quite fancy the sound of it. It’s not like the Black Death is anything like our current epidemic.
I featured this book not that long ago in my Shelf Control series and I have been thinking about picking it up soon anyway. I have a lot of Brandon Sanderson novels on the oldest part of my list for the challenge so I am trying to break them up.
The bestselling feminist novel that awakened both women and men, The Women’s Room follows the transformation of Mira Ward and her circle as the women’s movement begins to have an impact on their lives. A biting social commentary on an emotional world gone silently haywire, The Women’s Room is a modern classic that offers piercing insight into the social norms accepted so blindly and revered so completely. Marilyn French questions those accepted norms and poignantly portrays the hopeful believers looking for new truths.
I have a lot of fantasy on this month’s list, so I have decided to pick up The Women’s Room as a change of genre. This is my third and final book contributing to my Beat the Backlist challenge. It is definitely quite a bit different from the books I pick up generally. We’ll see what I make of it!
The fifth volume, part two of A Song of Ice and Fire, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. Now a major Sky Atlantic TV series from HBO, featuring a stellar cast.
The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance.
In King’s Landing the Queen Regent, Cersei Lannister, awaits trial, abandoned by all those she trusted; while in the eastern city of Yunkai her brother Tyrion has been sold as a slave. From the Wall, having left his wife and the Red Priestess Melisandre under the protection of Jon Snow, Stannis Baratheon marches south to confront the Boltons at Winterfell. But beyond the Wall the wildling armies are massing for an assault…
On all sides bitter conflicts are reigniting, played out by a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves. The tides of destiny will inevitably lead to the greatest dance of all.
The second part of A Dance with Dragons is an ambitious addition to the TBR. It’s here as an “if I get through the rest I’ll start this next” book. I don’t expect to get this finished this month as well as all the above. If I get to make a start on it though, I’ll be happy.
It’s the last book of the series (that’s been published so far), so when I finish this I’ll have completed my re-read of the series!
That’s my list for the month! Have you read any of these books? What are you reading this month?