The Second Apocalypse

Miscellaneous Chatter => Literature => Topic started by: MSJ on January 04, 2019, 03:02:37 pm

Title: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: MSJ on January 04, 2019, 03:02:37 pm
A place to keep track of our 2019 reads. Hopefully I, or someone else ;) will post the totals in the 2018 thread. Cheers!


Just finished Prince of the Blood by Raymond Feist(1). Really enjoyed it. It picks the story back up in Midkemia, with Arutha still in power in Krondor and his sons having to learn their way.

As usual, I'll try to get around 30. Dont think I quite hit that this year, but close enough.

ETA: if you guys update 2018 with anything you might have missed, I'll try and get to the totals.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on January 07, 2019, 04:45:42 pm
49 last year, that's a huge amount for me.
I want to say that reading 4 books a month was way to much for me, but I think a lot of that was because nearly every one was a new story and not a sequel of some kind. This year I'm going to focus on finishing out some of the great stories I've started in the last handful of years. I suspect I might end up reading a lot of them quickly but I don't want to push to hard and miss something.

So I'll try for a modest 30.

Series I'd like to finish
Traitor Son (Cameron) - 4 books
Three Body (Liu) - 2 books
Gap Cycle (Donaldson) - 4 books
Magicians (Grossman) - 1 book
Rejoice: A Knife to the Heart (Erikson) - 1 Book
New Crobuzon (Mieville) - 2 1 books
Shattered Sigil (Schaffer) - 2 1 books
Books of Babel (Bancroft) - 2 1 books
Arcane Ascension (Rowe) - 2 1 (unpublished)
Arcane Ascension (Rowe) - 1 book
Echopraxia (Watts) - 1 book
Farseer (Hobb) - 2 books
Unhewn Throne (Staveley) - 2 books
Night's Dawn (Hamilton) - 2 books
Red Rising (Brown) - 2 books
Fifth Season (Jemisin) - 2 books
Mistborn (Sanderson) - 2 books

I'd also like to get to these if there's time:
Hidden Empire (Anderson) - 5
Powder Mage (McClellan) - 2
Acts of Cain (Stover) - 2
Codex Alera (Butcher) - 4
Expanse (Corey) - 4
Night Angel (Weeks) - 2
Lightbringer (Weeks) - 5

...Maybe I'll just have to read more.

January (Total: 5)
1) Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
2) Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley
3) The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley
4) Golden Son by Pierce Brown
5) Morning Star by Pierce Brown

February (Total: 8 )
1) Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
2) Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
3) Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft

March (Total: 8 )
0 books :( . Don't judge me, Neutronium Alchemist is a big book!

April (Total: 11)
1) The Neutronium Alchemist by Peter F Hamilton
2) Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb
3) Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb

May (Total: 12)
1) The Naked God by Peter F Hamilton
(Yes, seriously just 1 book. Shutup, Naked God is even bigger than Neutronium Alchemist!)

June (Total: 15)
1) The Obelisk Gate by N K Jemisin
2) The Stone Sky by N K Jemisin
3) The Scar by China Mieville

July (Total: 19)
1) The Tainted Crown by Meg Cowley
2) The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
3) Echopraxia By Peter Watts
4) On the Shoulders of Titans by Andrew Rowe

August (Total: 22)
1) The Tainted City by Courtney Schafer
2) The Poppy War by R F Kuang
3) The Dragon Republic by R F Kuang
4)
5)

September(Total: 2X)
1)
2)
3)
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on January 31, 2019, 01:04:13 pm
Just you and me again MSJ, lol.

Blood Meridian Cormac McCarthy (1)
Honestly, not a fan. The Bakker connections weren't as strong as I hoped, it was a western which I don't like, and the writing/prose was difficult to get into. Not a book for me.

The Unhewn Thrown by Brian Staveley (2, 3)
Providence of Fire (book 2), and The Last Mortal Bond (book 3)
What a fantastic series. Most easily described as Bakker-lite. It shares a lot of the same themes, but doesn't go so deep philosophically. It has a tight narrative, 3 pov characters which get a lot of exposition, combat is focused on small groups... Like if TSA was written to be popular :P . I highly recommend this series to anyone on this site.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown (4, 5)
Golden Son (book 2), and Morning Star (book 3)
Another really great series. The pacing is great, very driving, hard to put down. With only 1 POV character its a nice change from the typical menagerie we get in fantasy. Its a revolution narrative, across the stars, but manages to remain unpredictable until near the end. Another high recommendation from me.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Madness on January 31, 2019, 01:09:41 pm
I always seem to try and read at the start of the year and then fall off :(.

But... so far this calendar year I've read The War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells, The Martian - Andy Weir, and will probably finish The Name of the Wind - Rothfuss today.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: MSJ on January 31, 2019, 07:07:02 pm
Went on a cold spell myself Madness, the last few weeks. Happens to all of us at some point.

I'm about halfway through The Hod King, by Josiah Bancroft. Really love this series.

We will do what we do every year, Wilshire. Read and tell people about it. ;)
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: H on January 31, 2019, 09:07:51 pm
Went on a cold spell myself Madness, the last few weeks. Happens to all of us at some point.

I'm about halfway through The Hod King, by Josiah Bancroft. Really love this series.

We will do what we do every year, Wilshire. Read and tell people about it. ;)

What?  That came out?  Well, I know what I'll be doing for a while...
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: MSJ on January 31, 2019, 09:39:59 pm
Quote from:  H
What?  That came out?  Well, I know what I'll be doing for a while...

Yep, think around the 20th...
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: H on January 31, 2019, 10:10:44 pm
Yep, think around the 20th...

OK, well, at least it hasn't been too long without me knowing.  Forum came back just in time...
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: MSJ on February 01, 2019, 07:52:51 pm
Quote from:  H
OK, well, at least it hasn't been too long without me knowing.  Forum came back just in time...

As you, Wilshire and I are all reading this, it might be worth starting a thread over. Figure there are others also.

Almost did a reread of first 2 books to freshen up, but dove right into it. Just started part III of the book.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: H on February 01, 2019, 08:28:05 pm
As you, Wilshire and I are all reading this, it might be worth starting a thread over. Figure there are others also.

Almost did a reread of first 2 books to freshen up, but dove right into it. Just started part III of the book.

I probably should have reread book 2, but I ain't got time for that...
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on February 04, 2019, 07:11:00 pm
I have of course only read the first book :P . But 2 and 3 are on the list this year.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: MSJ on February 04, 2019, 11:02:01 pm
Quote from:  Wilshire
I have of course only read the first book  . But 2 and 3 are on the list this year.

Well.....what are you waiting for? I figure it pretty simple as just adding "spoilers" to the thread title. Then, you can steer clear til your caught up.


ETA: Again, we're impatiently waiting. 🤷‍♂️
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on February 05, 2019, 02:38:26 pm
Lol, anyone can make a topic. I'll ignore it regardless until I've read them. Can't remember what the waiting list looks like on my pile, at least 1.5 books of Mistborn. If we're going to discuss Tower of Babel then maybe I'll read it next. That still puts me at like at least 1 month if I read everything quick.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: H on February 05, 2019, 02:53:33 pm
I'm a third of the way through Book 3.  I'll make a topic once I am done with it.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: MSJ on February 05, 2019, 06:50:55 pm
Quote from:  H
I'm a third of the way through Book 3.  I'll make a topic once I am done with it.

I have 200 pages left and I'm going to try and finish up tonight.

Quote from:  Wilshire
Lol, anyone can make a topic. I'll ignore it regardless until I've read them. Can't remember what the waiting list looks like on my pile, at least 1.5 books of Mistborn. If we're going to discuss Tower of Babel then maybe I'll read it next. That still puts me at like at least 1 month if I read everything quick.

Certainly not telling you what to do. But, we all read these same books, just not usually at the same time, generally. Would be nice to have a little in-depth discussion with the fellas, is all.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: MSJ on February 14, 2019, 12:09:45 am
Finished The Hod King(2), by Josiah Boncraft and Cold Iron(3), by Miles Cameron.

Really enjoyed Hod King, though I feel the story didn't really advanced all that much. I was pleasantly surprised to find out this want the final installment. I'll post in the spoiler thread later.

Cold Iron, was a good book but not the same sort of story as Traitor Son Cycle, even though it s in the same world. Much tighter in scope and plot. Still enjoyable, and I really like Cameron's writing.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on February 14, 2019, 12:30:41 pm
I'm glad Cameron's new book was good. His first series, Traitor Son, is on my list this year to finish, and I really enjoyed the first book.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on February 19, 2019, 01:01:54 pm
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (6, 7)
Well of Ascension (book 2), and Hero of Ages (book 3)
Sanderson's simple prose made this series seem a bit YA, but it was ultimately a satisfying series. The magic system is fantastic, though it does feel like more time was spent on developing and implementing the magic than the rest of the book combined. Still a fun read though and it goes quick due to the way its written. Good pacing, plenty of mystery and I didn't guess the ending/twists along the way which I always appreciate. Towards the end it takes a bit of a left turn and delves into religion/faith/god in such a way that much of the second book now seems like an excuse to just do more cool magic stuff. Lots of action, this book won't satisfy an itch for something sophisticated, deep, and philosophical, but its worth reading if you're looking for something to entertain.

On to finishing Bancroft so I can catch up to you two.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on February 19, 2019, 01:38:06 pm
I always seem to try and read at the start of the year and then fall off :(.

But... so far this calendar year I've read The War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells, The Martian - Andy Weir, and will probably finish The Name of the Wind - Rothfuss today.

War of the Worlds is one I'd be interested in reading, but also the radio brodcast that caused such a disturbance. How was it?
Martian was a fun read but not a ton to discuss afterwards.

What did you think of Name of the Wind? Definitely curious how that series goes for you.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on March 04, 2019, 11:04:08 pm
So I did Arm of the Sphinx ( 8 ), and felt it was good but not great. Definitely missing some of the magic that the first book had. It's still a great book, but focuses a bit too heavily on the scenary if the tower.

I'll read the next one later this year, but I feel I need a break, both from Bancroft and from fantasy.

Onto The Neutronium Alchemist by Peter F Hamilton, where there's spaceships soitstotallynotmagic. ;)
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: MSJ on March 14, 2019, 12:59:56 pm
Finished Dark Forge, by Cameron (4). Great book, and Cameron has never dissapointed me in any phase of his writing. Love the guy.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on April 04, 2019, 11:48:28 am
The Neutronium Alchemist by Peter F Hamilton (9)

For as fantastic as The Reality Dysfunction was, I felt underwhelmed by its sequel. It was a lot more generic than book 1, and after reading it I realize it was more of a bridge between book 1 and 3 than it was something unique into itself. For a book so big, this is disappointing. That said, it was still a good read. I definitely want to read the final installment, The Naked God, as the last chapter of Neutronium Alchemist made the whole book worth reading and got me excited for the conclusion. For anyone looking for a big scifi book to dig into, the Night's Dawn series is a good pick.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: H on April 04, 2019, 01:18:46 pm
I don't think I have a real "target" for the year, but I just finished Tiamat's Wrath and that makes 3 books read this year, which I think it only one short of what I read last year...
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Redeagl on April 11, 2019, 09:02:36 am
Finished Neuropath. Art. Definitely the best book I have read in the last year.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on April 11, 2019, 12:16:16 pm
Finished Neuropath. Art. Definitely the best book I have read in the last year.

Ah, well done. Neuropath and Disciple of the Dog are very distinctly Bakker, and approach many of the same themes and concepts that TSA does. I think one can use those two as partial ciphers for TSA.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: BeardFisher-King on April 11, 2019, 12:24:15 pm
Finished Neuropath. Art. Definitely the best book I have read in the last year.

Hmmmpf. I generally struggle for the right combination of adjectives to describe my revulsion for "Neuropath". I think that, for me, it's the most inhumane story I have ever read.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on April 12, 2019, 02:12:37 pm
Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb (10)

Brilliant. Hobb is a truly incredible writer and deserves every ounce of the attention she gets. The Farseer Trilogy might not be the most action packed, swashbuckling fantasy there is, but the detail on characters really makes the books seem packed to bursting. For anyone looking for fantasy that's not so EPIC and a lot more personal, look no further. Its stuffed with emotional scenes, and while generally melancholy, the moments of joy are pure and fulfilling. And yet, there are also grander schemes at play, a great plot to uncover, and intrigue abound that leaves the reader thirsty for more.
Wolves have no Kings.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on April 27, 2019, 01:33:12 pm
Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb (11)

Farseer Trilogy was a fantastic series, and this rounds it out very nicely. Hobb continues in book 3 what she was doing in the first two, and it ends very well. This is a real fantasy classic.

Given what I've read so far, I'd definitely say Hobb is one of the best writers in the genre.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on June 11, 2019, 04:11:06 pm
The Naked God by Peter F Hamilton (12)

Well, it certainly took long enough to read - its a quite a big book. As seems to be the way of things, I don't think the final book in the series was as good as the first, but it was thankfully more on-point than Neutronium Alchemist. Its ultimately a great series that I'd recommend to anyone looking for a fun Space Opera, but it could have been better.

My primary criticism, insofar as I'm qualified to criticize at all, is that it seems like Hamilton couldn't decide what he wanted to write about. It felt as if there were two really interesting ideas he tried to turn into a series: A galaxy spanning space opera, and a soul search quest about the nature of souls and the afterlife. Its not that the two ideas are incompatible, but the execution wasn't 100%, which left me feeling like something was missing.

Hard to imagine anything is missing from a book that makes most of the Malazan novels look reasonably sized... But there seemed to be more story to tell, but it all came crashing to a close right at the end. The ending was not a blindside at least, with consistent story telling and foreshadowing making the end feel through-out rather than slapped together, but I was still left wanting.

Even still, its one of the best scifi I've read in a while, covering topics not typically brought up in the genre. Read it!
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on June 13, 2019, 05:47:40 pm
The Stone Sky (13) and The Obelisk Gate (14) by N K Jemisin

The first book was the best, then the last, then the middle. This is a common trend I'm seeing with trilogies, and something I've come to expect.

There's definitely great commentary on the nature of subjugation, racism, and institutionalized violence/hate. Commentary that was built into the world, and not highly visible from the start, making its way into later books once the ground was set. The first book had the most interesting exploration of magic, despite later books adding in new layers, and I found myself wishing for some more involved Magic Duels.

But magic wasn't what the book was about, and I think largely Jemisin accomplished what she set out to do. Its a quick read, compared to some of the other books I've been reading, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone on the fence. Its a great fantasy story.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on July 02, 2019, 12:16:59 pm
The Scar by China Mieville (15)

Something about Mieville is just amazing. I love the way he writes - he's definitely a master, and it really just click with me. He's probably the only author I could just read on prose alone, regardless of plot and worldbuilding. The worldbuilding of New Crobuzon is convoluted and confusing, with a ridiculous amount of stuff just happening and not really explained. I get the sense that "this is normal for the characters so its not going to be explained" . The characters are quite good, the plot was fun, and despite the confusion the world is really interesting.

I think his first book, Perdido Street Station, was a little better, and I'm glad the third book returns to the city. The Scar is also a lot lighter in tone too, which is probably a good thing - Mieville uses his powers of prose for purposes other than terrifying the reader lol.

Definitely a nice sequel and I'm looking forward to Iron Council, though I think I'll take a break and read another author or two first since the books are not direct sequels.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on July 09, 2019, 11:38:33 am
The Tainted Crown by Meg Cowley (16)

Not great. It wasnt terrible, but its just your generic swords and sorcery fantasy. Prince is dethroned, takes back crown. There's a couple dragons.

On the up side, I had Black Prism by Brent Weeks in my library so I started it. Seems like it'll be great.

Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on July 15, 2019, 11:30:45 am
The Black Prism (Lightbringer 1) by Brent Weeks (17)

Now that's a proper book. Tight story, good worldbuilding woven into the plot, a few clever twists, and plenty of kickass magic to round it out. I've only read one other book by Weeks, and it was the first of the Night's Dawn book. This felt very similar in style, but I think ultimately its just done better. I will definitely be adding this to the  "finish this series" pile.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on July 23, 2019, 04:04:39 pm
Echopraxia (Firefall 2) By Peter Watts (18)

Unlike Blidsight, where I felt like I managed to hang on by my fingertips to the end, I think I fell off the ride. It was fun, but not nearly as cohesive, and I'm mostly left confused and unimpressed.

The afterward/post-script was probably better than the book itself, as he describes where his ideas came from.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on July 31, 2019, 04:43:43 pm
On The Shoulders Of Titans (Arcane Ascension 2) by Andrew Rowe (19)

This was a fun book, and a good sequel. It actually managed to not have a dip in quality that I have now come to expect with Book 2's. Rowe has managed to write a consistent story with clear focus, and maybe its the whole self-publishing thing, but he has managed to maintain quality.

The series is a quick read, plenty of action with some magic school stuff thrown in as a backdrop (though less heavily featured in this book than the last). Only 2 books of the series are currently written and published, and while I don't see myself reading a whole bunch else by Rowe I definitely feel like its worth my time to finish Arcane Ascension.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on August 07, 2019, 06:54:09 pm
The Tainted City by Courtney Schafer (20)

Ah, another good book. I highly recommend the Shattered Sigil series to anyone who likes great magic. Its not overly detailed a la Sanderson, but with some technicality that makes it fun to read. The characters are good, with believable motivations and conflicts that make them feel very real, and there's enough going on to keep you guessing. This takes place primarily in a city, rather than the wilderness, and I think that was something of a mistake. Courtney excels at writing wilderness/climbing sequences and there wasn't as much opportunity to flex that muscle. Fast pace throughout made it hard to put down.

But even still... read it!

Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on August 20, 2019, 03:02:25 pm
The Poppy War (21) and The Dragon Republic (22) by RF Kuang

Great books. Poppy War was a reread because I started Dragon Republic and too much was happening and I couldn't remember why it was all important. First half(ish) of Poppy War is Magic School type book, which sounds lame but its done well and manages to be interesting, though maybe I just like the trope. After that, it becomes rather gruesome as it details a fantastical version the Rape Of Nanjing and the surrounding events. I didn't know this when I read it last time, but I gather that these books are basically a retelling of historical events repackaged for a Western audience. I very much like this book.

Dragon Republic was also great. At times better and worse than Poppy War, it carries on the story and the history of China in that era. Less blood and guts, more political machinations, making it less stomach churning and yet... not as less as you'd like. People are the worst, even when they're not ripping guts out and killing babies. As someone horribly unaware of real world history in my own country, let alone one across an ocean, I find the series fascinating.

The magic is cool, very Gods and religion centered. I think it manages to be better done in the 2nd book than the first. The characters are quirky, largely believable, and many are at least somewhat sympathetic. The worldbuilding is good, and while many of the peoples/places are clearly based on IRL analogues its still done very well.

Its a dark fantasy series from a new authors, and its definitely worth a try.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: MSJ on August 22, 2019, 12:15:06 am
Glad you liked Dragon Republic. Its next on my list.
Title: Re: Yearly Targets 2019
Post by: Wilshire on August 22, 2019, 12:10:52 pm
The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer book 2) by Brent Weeks

Wow, couldnt put this down once it got going, read it in 3 days. First 25% is a bit slow, which was much needed after then ending of book 1, but then it gets going and doesn't stop.

The Blinding Knife goes much deeper into political maneuvering compared to the last book, and did a great job with it. Lots of worldbuilding that opened the setting up, you get a much better feeling of how much is happening behind the scenes, how much history there is, etc.

 I do have some concerns that Weeks took out some potentially very interesting plots to streamline the story, but I'll have to wait and see how that turns out in his later books.

There's 5 books in the series, 4 are published and the 5th is supposed to be out sometime this year, maybe October. I'll definitely be working on completing this one so I can read book 5 as it comes out, and its going to be hard not to binge them all.