Yearly Targets 2019

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Wilshire

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« Reply #30 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.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2019, 12:19:12 pm by Wilshire »
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Wilshire

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« Reply #31 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.

« Last Edit: August 07, 2019, 05:32:57 pm by Wilshire »
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Wilshire

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« Reply #32 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.
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Wilshire

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« Reply #33 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.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2019, 04:39:34 pm by Wilshire »
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Wilshire

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« Reply #34 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.
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Wilshire

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« Reply #35 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!

« Last Edit: August 07, 2019, 06:55:58 pm by Wilshire »
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Wilshire

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« Reply #36 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.
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« Reply #37 on: August 22, 2019, 12:15:06 am »
Glad you liked Dragon Republic. Its next on my list.
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Wilshire

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« Reply #38 on: August 22, 2019, 12:10:52 pm »
The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer book 2) by Brent Weeks (23)

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.

« Last Edit: October 14, 2019, 12:00:26 pm by Wilshire »
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Francis Buck's Crush

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« Reply #39 on: August 23, 2019, 05:20:49 pm »
@Wilshire So, if I wanted a large scale big epic fantasy series, Lightbringer DOES the job? Is the world building actually creative, or is it First Law's #997463637 rip off, like most recent fantasy releases?
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Wilshire

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« Reply #40 on: August 23, 2019, 06:34:07 pm »
@Wilshire So, if I wanted a large scale big epic fantasy series, Lightbringer DOES the job? Is the world building actually creative, or is it First Law's #997463637 rip off, like most recent fantasy releases?

Not sure what you mean by First Law ripoff - I've not had that experience with recent stuff.

Hard to give a definitive answer on your question since I've only read 2 of the 5 books. Is it as big as Malazan or Wheel of Time? Absolutely not. The focus is mainly on two characters, the Prism (most power magic user in the world) and Kip (unimportant kid from a nameless village). There's several other characters that get POVs, but everyone's story exists to further the story of those two.

As is typical with fantasy, there's a big war going on. There's a bunch of politicking that goes on, but Brent Weeks tends to spend more time with action scenes than otherwise - kind of like Red Rising. From what I have read so far, Red Rising is a better comparison than say Bakker/Erikson/etc. Its smaller in scope, with lots of great magic, enjoyable characters with personality, marching/invading armies, and plenty of fight scenes.

The world building is good. The first book starts after "The False Prism War", which is some big thing that you learn about as the book progresses. So there's history, and its important, as well as varying degrees of racism from clashing cultures. There are a lot of different factions vying for power. Its a Hard Magic system, which plays heavily into the worldbuilding itself - magic is vastly important. It changes daily life, and while not everyone can use magic, lots of people can, to varying degrees. Everything from buildings to tools can be made of, or infused with, magic.

There appear to be gods (though exactly what they are and whether or not they are "real" remains unclear so far), fortune tellers, prophesies, special artifacts of significant magical power, etc.

btw, book 5 is supposed to be published in October this year.

Hope that helps answer your question.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2019, 06:37:26 pm by Wilshire »
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Wilshire

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« Reply #41 on: September 10, 2019, 03:17:23 pm »
Iron Council (Bas Lag 3) by China Mieville (24)

In a word, disappointing. Mieville seemed to change his writing style dramatically, and it didn't work for me. His prose went from unique and powerful, to ordinary. The setting from brilliantly weird, to flat.

The first third of the novel is full Blood Meridian, which is a book I didn't like and a prose style that is the antithesis Meiville's earlier Bas Lag books. I honestly don't understand what he was trying to do here, maybe attempting to have more mass appeal? Book 3 of a weird series is not a great place for that. Try something drastically new? Again, book 3 - I don't read series because I'm hoping the author with drastically change their writing randomly in the middle.

As a stand alone novel, ignoring the fact that without the worldbuilding background it would be too confusing to appreciate, it would probably be OK. The magic was fun when it occurred, but given the nature of the universe, it was used in some pretty uninteresting ways to solve plats that didn't need to exist to begin with.

And that's a damn shame, because I loved Perdido Street Station, and The Scar was also fantastic.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2019, 12:00:37 pm by Wilshire »
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TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #42 on: September 11, 2019, 06:35:13 pm »
Iron Council (Bas Lag 3) by China Mieville

In a word, disappointing. Mieville seemed to change his writing style dramatically, and it didn't work for me. His prose went from unique and powerful, to ordinary. The setting from brilliantly weird, to flat.

The first third of the novel is full Blood Meridian, which is a book I didn't like and a prose style that is the antithesis Meiville's earlier Bas Lag books. I honestly don't understand what he was trying to do here, maybe attempting to have more mass appeal? Book 3 of a weird series is not a great place for that. Try something drastically new? Again, book 3 - I don't read series because I'm hoping the author with drastically change their writing randomly in the middle.

As a stand alone novel, ignoring the fact that without the worldbuilding background it would be too confusing to appreciate, it would probably be OK. The magic was fun when it occurred, but given the nature of the universe, it was used in some pretty uninteresting ways to solve plats that didn't need to exist to begin with.

And that's a damn shame, because I loved Perdido Street Station, and The Scar was also fantastic.

I was disappointed by it the first time I read it.  But, I loved it the second time.
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Wilshire

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« Reply #43 on: September 11, 2019, 07:38:29 pm »
How do you reconcile Iron Council with PSS/TS? Those other books are so descriptive and imaginative. IC seem sot be rather flat in comparison.

I think the general concensus seems to be that people really love IC, so it definitely seems I'm of the minority opinion :) .
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TheCulminatingApe

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« Reply #44 on: September 12, 2019, 07:56:03 pm »
How do you reconcile Iron Council with PSS/TS? Those other books are so descriptive and imaginative. IC seem sot be rather flat in comparison.

I think the general concensus seems to be that people really love IC, so it definitely seems I'm of the minority opinion :) .

Iron Council is different and not what I was expecting - hence the disappointment when you first read it.  You're expecting Vol 3 of PSS/ TS, and that's not really what you get.
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