Thursday, February 4

Book: Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Brandon Sanderson Click for more info

The last in this literary intermission is another standalone story, this time set on a planet all of its own. Like The Emperor's Soul, that also makes it more ambitious than the other short stories I've read in the Cosmere. That said it felt less magical than the others, leaning more on traditional fantasy notes.

Even though it shouldn't have been, that lack of technical depth was a little jarring, although the book was otherwise a decent read. If that sounds like a criticism it's not - it's more an failing of mine to place it in what I understand as the being the larger Cosmere. I suspect that's something I'll figure out eventually though.

Monday, February 1

Book: The Emperor's Soul, Brandon Sanderson Click for more info

The second of the trio of short stories is a standalone story, albeit one that shares a planet with Elantris. What's peculiar about that is how we're introduced to a new form of magic - although how it relates to what we saw in Elantris remains to be seen.

A bit longer than a short story, Soul takes its time. It uses that pace to spin a greater yarn, fleshing out characters and a world that we might not even have a chance to revisit. That both makes me sad and excites me.

As a stand alone book it more than holds its own, although at this point in my journey its hard to see things without trying to fit them into the larger Cosmere. Whatever the case, I found it to be more than enough to carry itself through from beginning to end.

Wednesday, January 27

Book: The Eleventh Metal, Brandon Sanderson Click for more info

As my quest to consume everything Cosmere takes a more COD turn, I reached a point in the publishing order which presented me not one but three short stories in a row. The first of which heads back to Scadrial, allomancy and... Kelsier.

After moving to (and of course, enjoying) Era 2 of Mistborn, going back to the familiar was comforting more than anything else. And yet, the hunt for the titular eleventh metal firmly anchors the past with the current by normalising the existence (and knowledge) of set of metals wider than the 12 or so introduced to us in Era 1.

Other than that, expect more concise and clear Sanderson goodness from Scadrial.

Monday, January 25

Book: The Alloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson Click for more info

I have to admit that after the brain melting slog that was the Dune Trilogy, coming back to The Cosmere was a delightful joy. It once again affirmed that a good book isn't just a function of its world or characters, but also of its accessibility.

And of course accessibility doesn't mean "easy" or "less". There is a science to telling a story, and it's a skill that Sanderson has in spades. And so we're easily able to digest a complicated system of magic, complex character development and follow a story with all of its twists and turns.

The Alloy of Law brings us back to a much later Scadrial, where the events of the original Mistborn trilogy are but a distant memory. Things are familiar, but also different, another way in to the comfort in reading this book.

The story itself is great enough to keep you going, while also being wholly self aware than this is but the start of a new era - that there will be more and bigger things to come. But unlike other recent trilogies I may have read, I don't continue with trepidation and a sigh, but in excitement, eager to know just how it'll all play out, certain that, at the very least, finding out won't be a chore.

And so, on we go.

Monday, January 11

Book: Children of Dune, Frank Herbert Click for more info

And so we come at last to the third (and for me, final) book of the "essential" Dune trilogy. By now I've been well conditioned into knowing what to expect, and as a result managed to get through this volume relatively unscathed.

In many ways Children is an amalgamation of the previous two books, combining the scope and ambition (and bat-poo craziness) of Dune with the speed and conciseness of Messiah. That in itself doesn't make it a better book than either however, as the same issues with pacing and plot still manage to outweigh what brilliance is trying to get out of the author's mind.

But reading the third book is just as essential as it does manage to provide closure to the Dune saga, bookending the most important developments in it's universe while keeping the door open for those who wish to explore further. However, while I can't say I regret reading this trilogy, I do know that I didn't enjoy it enough to proceed further with it - in fact I don't see myself revisiting these books at all.

On the plus side I do think that the universe is ripe for adapting to other media, and so am very much looking forward to the movie when it finally releases. As another aside, I also expect to enjoy the recently re-released boardgame much more than I would have having not read the books. Just another example of how brilliant the Dune universe is, if not the books that flagship that universe are.