Monday, May 24

Book: Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania, Brandon Sanderson Click for more info

The second and final interlude before the next book in the series and we are once again sent back to Scadrial to have fun with allomancy. This book is probably the most different of the ones I read so far, being presented as a text having been written in the universe itself. I will admit that the meta pushed my ability to suspend my disbelief but it was all over before I knew it so it's hardly a big complaint. What is a complaint was the overused footnotes by the "editor" used as a kind of crutch or foil to make some prety cheap gags, kind of like inapproriate hashtags.

But it was different, and that's one of the nice things about the Cosmere.

Saturday, May 22

Book: Sixth of the Dusk, Brandon Sanderson Click for more info

Now this was more like it. As I head back into the shorter stories in the Cosmere, I find myself with the material that I most enjoy: a speedy and efficient - yet most certainly not shallow - romp in a new world (and like Shadows for Silence, set on a brand new planet). And that with some brilliant characterisation to boot.

It just goes to show how each approach really does seem to have a different intent - its a dissonance that I should probably embrace when it comes to the larger volumes. Until then I'll enjoy the stuff I know I like.

Food: Hala Click for more info

Is there such a thing as a bad Turkish? The cuisine has been so heavily optimised and commoditised that I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between two restaurants in a blind test - heck, I'd probably struggle with my eyes open too. The point is that these days it's pretty difficult to find bad Turkish food.

So it's left to the paraphernalia to distinguish between them all. I've already alluded above that they all seem to look the same, so really what we're actually talking about here are service and price.

Hala had pretty decent service, particularly after factoring in The Times In Which We Live. Food was taken with a smile and served quickly, and the needs of all eating were met.

Price-wise it gets a little complicated. Hala isn't the cheapest place to go for a meal, but with such generous portions it's very easy to be a little strategic about ordering, resulting in a pretty decent cost per head. Of course such shenanigans won't suit everyone (but I would wager they also wouldn't care too much about the bottom line anyway).

Ultimately though there wasn't really much to raise Hala above a the usual - which is doubly significant being located on a road with so many similar options. A safe and solid bet then.

Wednesday, May 19

Book: Words of Radiance, Brandon Sanderson Click for more info

If the various Cosmere worlds are representative of different aspects of storytelling, then The Stormlight Archive would definitely cover that of "worldbuilding", of which Words of Radiance is very much a middle book.

It's not been a favourable read. It meanders a lot, spending too many words to say very little. This is actually quite disappointing as it was the tightness of Elantris, Mistborn and Warbreaker that attracted me so much to the Cosmere in the first place.

But it wasn't all bad. The set pieces, when they finally came, were awesome, as were the not so subtle easter eggs. On balance, I would say that the pay offs were just about worth it - I'm certainly not giving up on the Cosmere any time soon - but the book could have been so much better if it had picked a more concise path.

It's just as well that the Cosmere is made up of various aspects of storytelling.