The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson – Review #10

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

A continuation of the Mistborn trilogy but 300 years later. The whole idea behind this new series is so original that I was so excited to start reading it. From the beginning of his first trilogy I was interested, the magic system, the world building, the plot, the characters, everything is just so interesting in these worlds that could never just ignore the fact that there was another book series in the world so I took the first step and went out to read them. As I said, this series takes place 300 years after the original trilogy so the characters are different but the world is the “same”. I highly recommend that you read the first trilogy before you start this or things in the book will not make sense to you. The story revolves around an allomancer named Waxillium. He is a lawkeeper who functions as a sort of bounty hunter or free lance police officer in this universe. The first chapter of this book is probably the most intense and story filling. I was surprised and read until my eyes could not keep open.

Sanderson brings new ideas to this old world and keeps the reader reading. Even possible new readers can get stuff out of this book, anyone interested in stories set in a magical world with an interesting magic system will like this, or even people who like a sort of historical fantasy, the whole world is built with the most complex history I have never seen the like of which before.

The Alloy of Law brings the world of Mistborn to a more real life connection, the idea that magical fantasy worlds can advance into a future age where things like electricity and cars rule is so amazing.

The plot itself is intriguing as well. We follow the Lord Waxillium in his adventures as a Lord and lawkeeper and the complex political affairs in both. Things such as his background is lawkeeping making him seem to be a miscreant in the nobilities eyes and his Lordly status making him seem a puff to the criminal minds of the Roughs where he keeps the law.

Characters who join the story keep it entertaining as well, Wayne, Waxillium, and Marasi mainly, how they work together, the dynamic obviously present between Wayne an Waxillium is exmpowering and hysterical. The relationship between Marasi and Waxillium is also delicate with the occasional awkwardness. The story doesn’t revolve around the plot, but the characters, without one, the story would not be able to continue. The way these people were written makes them seem real, there are conversations where I genuinely thought that’s how people communicate. Some authors gloss over conversation for more important things, but making your characters seem more human is a major feat that Sanderson should be praised for.

This book was great and I can’t wait to read the other two in the series that is still growing with a book expected to release next year. I would rate it at 4.5/5 only because the ending seemed a bit odd, but I feel like I’ll grow to understand it more as I read the series.

-Zachary

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Book One of the Mistborn Trilogy) by Brandon Sanderson – Review #9

Brandon Sanderson is a phenomenal writer. He has such a distinct pattern of writing that I have just grown to love. I devoured this book and it’s sequels in days and I loved it.

This book follows the street born Vin who is apart of a world much larger than she originally thinks it is; a world full of trust and confidence, and friends. She lives as a street skaa thief working with gangs to steal and kill. The nobility and The Lord Ruler keep a firm grip over the lives of those who live in the city of Luthadel and the massive empire it is the capital of. The Immortal Emperor makes slaves of the skaa race and allows only a certain few, born into privilege to live lives of respect and lavishness. Soon into the story we meet people to give faith to, men who work to fight against the tyrannical rule of The Lord Ruler. Kelsier is this groups head, as a full Mistborn he keeps the group safe from the eyes of the Emperor and his murderous Inquisitors and obligators. He leads the group through many different schemes and every once in a while a rebellion to try to destroy the reigning government of the world for the last 1,000 years, ya know the norm. The book follows these characters through the rough life of slaves and thieves who live in a world where they are looked upon as lesser beings, it holds much deeper meanings in the text and is a lovable book.

The characters of this book are truly my favorite thing about the trilogy, the lives they live, the struggles, the anxiety, the doubt, the hope, everything about these characters will make me miss them so much once I finish the series. This first book holds so much about them, it explains so much, yet so little. We learn to love Vin and her oddities while also seeing her grow as a woman and learn to trust those around her.

Something else about this book, and author kind of, is it ending so interesting, this first book I mean, not the series. If you read this book alone without reading the other two I think you could be content with the ending given, because I definitely was. Sanderson has an odd way of writing these things, this is the kind of writing he does, he writes books that could go out as single best selling novels, but leaves enough mystery in the end where he could do so much more which is what he did here. From what else I have read from him–Elantris– he writes like this all the time, leaving Elantris very similarly to how he left the first Mistborn book, with some loose ends and things to pull together with a sequel(which he is planning to make for Elantris). The plot this book follows is complex and one of the most interesting I think I have ever read. This book is really one of the best books I have ever read, it is still behind The Name of the Wind and A Game of Thrones, but not by much.

I feel like his writing has not lived up to my expectations though with the next two books in the series, I know the reviews given to those two are all positive, but I don’t think they will ever top the first book in the series. I may be wrong, I still have yet to finish the final book(only 200 pages from the end) but I don’t know if he will be able to make me love The Hero of Ages more than The Final Empire. Don’t get me wrong those books are amazing too, I just wanted more from the book that I learned to love so much. If I were to reread the series, I might just reread the first book.

I would rate this book 5/5 stars, if I could do more I would. The other books are 5 stars as well (so far) but at the moment they don’t exceed that (you should still read them though, they’re good enough to not want to miss out on what happens).

-Zachary

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Review #8

Sunday March 19th Review’s part 2

I thought it appropriate to review the two books that shared the connection of one fine author and enough nerdiness to bring a crowd of fangirls, and boys, together. Oddly enough, I never hear much about us fanboys, it’s always just the girls, but whatever.

Anyway, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I think I liked this book better than Carry On honestly. The connections to myself and my habits was astounding. Her writing habits, her major in college, her life. I connected, I feel like many people probably connected, people like me, nerds. Anyway her is Cath, she lived in Omaha Nebraska and moved to Lincoln Nebraska for College. She has a twin sister who she trusts with her life, and a father to watch over her. She’s a complete introvert and hates going out, and hates meeting new people, especially when doing so and it backfiring. Oddly enough, her twin sister did not want to bunk with her after 18 years of living in the same room, and so she had to meet her new roommate. A nice friendship grows and this becomes one of the best things to happen to her indirectly. This novel follows betrayal – albeit somewhat minor at points, and heartbreaking at others – romance, and fun nerdiness that I think many people could relate to. Fanfiction in general draws a whole slew of people together so this book fits all of them, and even those who don’t read fanction, such as I.

Some good features about this book, are the basics mostly, the plot was lacking a bit, but I hardly noticed, I went through this book almost as fast as Carry On. It follows a good story and that was enough for me. There was one loose end to this story which I kind of did not like, but I can live with it, I think it was kind of explained, just not clearly enough.

Another feature about this book is the characters. I loved most of the characters and I hated others, none of them were badly written, it’s just that some of them were either college jerks or ignorant in general to everything. The main characters are all lovable and break standards I think, the story leads Cath through a hard life, or at least a stressed one and it makes me personally think about my own and accomplishing things. She’s a writer and reading about her made me want to write. I wrote a thousand pages on my own personal fantasy story today and I feel good about it. The characters are great and motivating and just good.

I really liked this book and I want to read more by Rainbow Rowell but I feel like nothing else she can do will live up to my love for Carry On and Fangirl.

5/5 It’s a good read, worth the time, it’s quite quick actually.

-Zachary

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – Review #7

Sorry for not posting last weekend. I know no one actually reads this blog, but I know that I have to continue or the writing will stop completely.

Anywho, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, the fanfiction everyone who has read Fangirl has heard about. The idea behind this novel first came from Rainbow Rowell’s original work Fangirl. Because of the popularity of the fake fanfiction, she wrote a book to commemorate the success, and this book was just as great as it’s forerunner. The story behind this book seemed at first to be simple, but it was anything but. The teenage magician, Simon Snow, has had a very Harry Potter esq. life. he lived as an orphan, found out her was a wizard at age 11, and went to wizarding school. The similarities might seem outrageous here, but their is more. It’s not bad because of this though. This book has an original view on the whole idea, it switches things up, it makes new romances and friendships that never could have happened in Harry Potter. Carry On is an amazing book with a great plot that was intriguing and distinguished, great characters that you could relate to, and an interesting setting even with the Harry Potter similarities.

Now, the plot. The idea behind the plot itself was truly interesting. The twists and turns and the foreshadowing are really in depth. Rowell rights like a person who knows what their doing. She made it seem as though you had read the other books in this fake series that was made into a fake fanfiction that you are real reading. She allows for the characters to manipulate the plot and move it. To create a changing atmosphere that keeps the reader reading.

Again, the characters, they are the main interest to me. Having read this story before Fangirl, I was not in the know of the idea behind the romance in this book. Knowing the background it shows me the premise behind this book. It’s fanfiction about two gay lovers. Simon Snow and Basilton Pitch. It’s kind of similar to the Harry potter fandom’s Drarry shippers (Ya know, people who think Harry was gay for Draco and vice versa). Anyway, they are not the only characters, we also follows some very interesting lead females and background characters. We meet a girl named Lucy who is very important to the story that you really could not guess until the end, the Mage, he reminds of Dumbledore a bit, except much more exploitative, I don’t like him, and Ebb, the goat herder, probably my favorite characters (honestly she’s great, a good Hagrid similarity there too).

The setting was London, I know… Harry Potter it set their too but get over it, read the book and you’ll love it anyways despite the fact that it really is just a fanfiction of a fanfiction.

The book was great and I could see myself rereading it at some point. I would recommend it to anyone who reads fantasy books or even likes romance. The style of writing is great, and the perspective shifting was a good change of pace. I binged this book. I read 400 pages in a row then fell asleep to only begin again once I woke up. I was recommended this book to me by a friend and I loved it.

5/5

-Zachary

I’m posting a Fangirl Review soon.

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Review #6

The Hound of the Baskervilles

This novel is one of the most world famous works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The story follows the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his constant companion John Watson as they try to solve the murder of Sir Charles Baskerville and a possible conspiracy to murder his heir. The suspense and story behind this novel is well done while keeping it entertaining. The premise behind it was not what I expected from this famous work, but it was good. One thing about it that it I did not find appealing was the ending and how the mystery was explained. It kind of just shoos away some facts that don’t follow the story instead of explaining possible solutions. Sherlock literally says there probably is an answer he just can’t remember it. Other than that the whole story was great, the murder, and even feeling that went into it. I actually felt kind of sad when there was a murder, albeit for a brief moment, but still, good development of sympathy.

The setting of the story is one I really loved, the eerieness in the beginning was amazing, and stuff such as that always makes me interested in a story. Also the ending when the catching of the murderer was et up to be, it had a very subtle oddity to it, a creepiness. A fog is rolling in, and I was reminded instantly of the show Sherlock and this distinct episode. The feeling put into this made me squirm and I love books that can pull something like this off without making it feel cliche or anything similar.

The characters of this novel were actually pretty good as well. The heir to the Baskerville fortune was quite a cool guy, and Watson and Sherlock were definitely great as always in this story, Sherlock’s cockiness and Watson’s candor. I did not expect the murderer to be who it was, but it’s like I never do, so that’s not that much, but i was surprised and it was a good surprise. The author even makes it possible to sympathize with a murderer, not the main murderer of the story, but another one… It’s complicated. Anyway, I thought the individuality he put into the charactes of this work really was a great one, and it stood out from other mystery novel I have read.

When I said before the ending did not explain some things very well, it did, but most of it was well explained and well thought through. The main murder was explained through a flashback quoted from one of the accomplices. it goes in depth as to the inconsistencies all crime stories seem to have and the mess-ups the murderer had made. The crime itself was a plain death, but the suspicion was put through well and the guilt of the accomplice does show through, giving the feeling of a constant ally, warning the possible next victim of their possible demise, or an intelligent enemy warning the heir off to gain for themselves a fortune.

This read was quite a short one, being about 200 pages on my kindle, but it was well worth it and I think any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work is worth a good sit down. He rights fantastically and keeps his characters well liked or not. I was even given some distinct reminders of Agatha Christie while I was writing, just the idea of a constant companion to the witty detective was one. If you want to read other works by him or go and buy this story, the best compilation could easily be bought online as a set of volumes, my personal favorite is the Barnes and Noble edition.

The Hound of the Baskervilles: 3.75/5 (Sorry it’s so odd, it has to be)

-Zachary

Quote of the Week – Week of March 5th, 2017

“It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give a man a question and he’ll look for his own answers. That way whe he finds the answers, they’ll be precious to him. The hard the question, the harder we hunt. The harder we hunt, the more we learn.”

-Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind)

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly – Review #5

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

I thought this book would be a great way to learn more about Black History and what this month represents. Black History month represents what this book explains and is written about, it goes into the goods and bads of life then and the hardships and how people got through it all to teach the ignorant.

This book began with an introduction to the author and why she wanted to write this book, this inspiring story of actual happenings. She explains how her father worked at NACA (Nation Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) much before NASA was even thought up and the history of the whole department and it’s people and workers and it’s triumphs and failures. Margot Lee Shetterly explains life during the time her father worked there and the time after. She goes deeply into the history of the women mainly in this story, not just white women, but the black women. How the desperation for women in the field of mathematics took hold in the 1940’s because the men were at war in Europe, women needed to help not only with the factories but also with the higher held job most women were never considered for before. The idea of equality throughout this book is ever prominent from the beginning with people like Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson, and Mary Jackson. We follow these women through not only their occupational lives, but their private ones, following success, love, and progress along with failures, losses, and setbacks. The setting is from the beginning of the second world war all the way to the end of the space race with the national accomplishment of getting a man on the moon and how these women held some of the biggest roles possible in achieving it.

The message behind this novel is ever present, and will ever be present though our lives, such as today with equality being set back with Trans kid’s rights in school. This book tells not only of women working towards a goal to beat out Russia to Space and to defeat Germany in aeronautics but also defeating the prejudice against black men and women. This book is an inspiration and teaches so much about the civil rights movement during the 1960’s and the leading up to the movement with protests, sit-ins and other forms of peaceful rebellion. We go in depth into the Jim Crow laws that lead the land in the south, and how states such as Virginia kept to their sorrowful ways through neglect of the national laws as well as finding specific loopholes.

This book kept me interested from the beginning, I am not a usual fan of non-fiction works, but this takes the cake for some of the most interesting I have read. Shetterly has some way of changing what would usually seem average and boring into something interesting and something I would want to continue. She goes into the lives of the women before their job upgrades in the 1940’s and I could not stop reading: she gives not stagnant descriptions, but descriptions to keep you intrigued and able to picture what was happening and the area it was happening in.

Another great thing about this book is that it spans over such a long period of time, but changes the frame ever so subtly through chapters that you know where you are in time and what is happening clearly. You never get stuck on the mathematics of the book, or the scientific areas, there is no jargon to speak of I believe, just the main theme, maybe just a bit about Martin Luther King Jr. being a trekkie, but other than that it sticks to the point.

I never really considered reading non-fiction thinking it boring and repetitive, but after reading this it made me want to read more about subjects such as this. I want to know more about the civil rights movement and the unspoken heroes of it. These women need more recognition for what they have succeeded in doing and so do all the others who have helped with the movement to help free America of the slavery of ignorance and intolerance. Read this book, even if you think non-fiction is not your cup of tea or whatever. Read it for the knowledge and the history.

Hidden Figures gets a 5/5 from me.

-Zachary