Friday, January 15, 2010

5 Books

Emperor: The Field of Swords and The Gods of War

I have really enjoyed these book as they have provided me with some interesting history on a man that has become very much a part of most western culture. I keep thinking that Caesar was adopted by the Russians as the name of their king (Czar) and that term is very much alive today in our own government. Reading a fictionalized account of his and Marcus Brutus life has been fun. The story is fast paced and enjoyable and provides very good history between the two friends. The one difficulty I had with this was the ending of the series (though the end should not be a surprise). The series ended with the assassination. Caesar is dead. His story ends but there is not tie up with the other story lines, Octavian, Marc Antony, Brutus and the other conspirators. I was so curious as to how their stories ended that I spent hours reading encyclopedia article about it. And of course the only other story I new about Julius Caesar.

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

I took a Shakespeare class in college and kept the text book (The Complete Works of William Shakespeare) so when I wanted more information about Caesar I decided to reread Julius Caesar. I was glad I was able to but I think next time that I read Shakespeare I will borrow it from the library because I do not really want to hold a 2,000 page book while I read. I enjoyed the play again however I realized that these are plays and they are much better watched than read. I don't mind reading them and now that I have read one and am a little more used to the language I might be up for another but nothing beats seeing them on stage.

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George

I had heard about this book a while ago and had considered reading it but always put it off because I thought there were more enjoyable books on my list. When I came across a copy of it I decided to give it a try. It was okay. A descent book and a quick read but I am not dying to read the next one. Though if it happens to come my way I could spend a day or so reading it.

Hidden Empire by Orson Scott Card

The second book in what might be a trilogy(?). This is Card's near future exploration of what will happen if the United States follows the example of Rome and moves from a republic to a empire. I still enjoy Card's writing style and his signature internal moral conflicts however I have found that this story like the first one Empire, did not draw me in as much as I wanted it to. I think that in part it was because of references to real life people who are around now and many of the current situations in the United States. He did not blend these with the fictional element of the story well enough for me to be completely drawn in. I think that in part that I am familiar enough with Card's political views that I could spot them through out the book and tell which political statements he was trying to make. A good book to read and well worth it even if I couldn't get past a few things.

Friday, December 4, 2009


This is the eighth book of the Runelords series by David Farland and it felt like it. I had thought that this series was going to be two sets of four but this book was different than the others in that it dealt with the same time period as books 6 and 7 yet from the view point of a supporting character from the first 5 books.

This story was Okay but I was more excited about it before I read the story. It looks good but I think that I am just getting impatient with this series and want it to come to an end. Maybe the ninth book will be the end? Because I don't know if I will be able to get through any more.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Alcatraz Versus the Scrivner's Bones

So it did not take me long to get the next Alcatraz book and I believe that it was even better than the first. This continues the story of Alcatraz Smedry and offers enough back story and new information that the story began to become important to me as opposed to the first one where the way the book was written was what stood out to me. There is still the same humor given in asides and through the narration but the story also took on depth and created enough suspense that I am eager to read the next book in the series. These books are going to be well worth it.

Leven Thumps and the Ruins of Alder

Why did I even finish this series. I have not liked any of them much but still had hope that maybe it would get better as the series went along. I didn't. Everything that bothered me about the first book was still here and I really had very little interest in the story.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians

I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book. I have really enjoyed Brandon Sanderson's Adult books however I did not know what to expect in his young adult fiction. This book again surprised me. I was actually expecting something like Leven Thumps or The Sisters Grimm or maybe even Fablehaven. It was nothing like any of those. True there was a story that was fairly entertaining but the real intriguing part of this novel if the narration with it's constant asides, critiques of writing and self deprecating humor.

He narrator that is actually sharing the story is Alcatraz Smedry but in his moments of reflection he details all of the "evil" things that authors do to "torture" readers. All of these "evil" things are exactly some of the author tricks that have become so blatant and obvious that they are now common place in literature.

As much as I hate the narrator making comments that pull me out of the story, Sanderson does this intentionally to make points about writing. This also happens to be the most laugh out loud funny book that I have read in a very long time. These funny moments come from both the actual story and the asides the narrator uses. In reality the narration was still a little annoying to me but the humor in the book more than made up for it. When the nest books are available I will read them, though they are not that high on my list.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Catching Fire

After having read the first book in this series I was not sure exactly what to expect from this one. I did remember not liking the present tense point of view in which it was written but it was a quick read and an exciting story. Catching fire lives up to the previous book and present somemore in depth information about the world in which these stories take place. Another good quick read and a great young adult book.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


After reading Warbreaker I was a little less excited about Elantris. I was afraid that I had already read Sanderson's best books in the Mistborn Trilogy. However as I started Elantris I was immediately drawn into the story and the Mystery surrounding the city of Elantris. I did not like this as much as Mistborn but it was much better than Warbreaker. This book still had many of the traits I had come to expect from Sanderson (plot twists, deep history, unique magic system, even a little mystery) yet I came to notice a little more about his writings. In all of Sanderson's book that I have read so far there is a heavy emphasis on Religion and religious history. Also in each of these books there are characters who achieve great powers and are considered Gods. These characters are ordinary people who usually through no particular effort of their own, become Gods. I find this theme in Sanderson's books to be very interesting especially considering his belief system (he is LDS).

The emphasis on religion is refreshing especially when we are constantly bombarded either anti religious or just plain irreligious attitudes in most pop media today. Some authors hint at it but no one I have read (beside regional or niche authors) has detailed religious beliefs as thoroughly as Sanderson. And as a person of strong religious beliefs I really do enjoy seeing characters who display such faith.