Friday, July 31, 2015

Mistborn: The Well of Ascension Discussion #3

Here's the third discussion post for the second book in the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. Saloni, from My Fantabulous Bookshelf, and I have been reading the series and sharing our thoughts. Some spoilers will follow, so if you haven't read the novel yet you may want to wait until you've done so.

  1. Penrod is officially the King, how do you think this will affect Elend and the crew on the rest of their plan?
Courtney: Elend and the crew are very dedicated individuals. While this is definitely a setback and might cause some problems for them, I don’t see them giving up. Particularly Elend. He’s taken Kelsier’s place in the crew, but has a slightly different outlook. But, just like Kelsier, he doesn’t give in easily. He will figure out a way to help the people. I’m just not sure how. And the crew will stand by him, even if they think he’s crazy. It’s what they do.  

Saloni: I really don’t think the crew will give up that easily. All of them have invested so much into every part of this plan, I think that while Penrod is trying to implement various rules and regulations into place, Vin, Elend and the rest of the Crew will continue to plan and prevent Luthadel from falling. i’m really hoping that there’s some type of positive relationship between Penrod and Elend which allows Elend some power in the situation.

  1. The last we saw of Zane, he was basically trying to kill Vin. Do you think he’ll follow through with this order, or will he let his emotions get in the way?
Courtney: Zane is an interesting character. While I think he’s drawn to Vin because of her skill as a Mistborn and her sanity (in comparison to him), I don’t think he’s trustworthy. I don’t necessarily think he will try to kill her, but that doesn’t mean he won’t manipulate her in some way that might be just as bad.   

Saloni: I really don’t think he’s going to kill her. He seems to feel an interesting connection with her and I don’t think he’d listen to his father’s simple orders. I really don’t think he’s going to kill Elend either, perhaps he’ll switch allegiances and help kill Straff Venture. He’s an interesting character and I hope we learn more about him.

  1. At this point, what do you think is Cett’s next move?
Courtney: Cett was sure he would become king, so I think now that he isn’t things will change for him. Vin is convinced that he is Mistborn, but I don’t see that. I think it’s more likely that he’ll pull out. Maybe even side with Luthadel. He’s a tyrant, but I don’t think he’s as much of a threat now that his plan was foiled.  

Saloni: He could start an attack on Luthadel, but with Straff’s army right there and a Koloss army very close behind that doesn’t seem like the smartest move. Honestly at this point, I’m not sure what he can do. Depending on how open Penrod is, he could try and negotiate an agreement, but the odds of that working out are very slim. I do think that the other armies will begin to play a role in the next few pages to come.

  1. Do you have any further thoughts on the kandra spy? Thoughts on who it might be?
Courtney: It’s hard to say who the kandra spy is. I don’t feel like it can be any of the crew, and not just because I like all of them. With the information Vin has uncovered about each of them, I find it less and less likely that one of them is the spy. The only one of the crew that really fits would be Elend himself, and I don’t think that’s the case. Particularly since we now have so much of the novel from his perspective. It would make him being a spy difficult, since we’re in his head so much. I also don’t see it being Demoux. While he would make sense logically, I don’t think he fits based on his recent actions.

Saloni: I definitely agree with Courtney. Having the kandra imitate someone from the crew would be too obvious, but I also think that having the kandra imitate anyone outside the crew might not be as useful. I think the kandra spy would have to be someone outside of the crew who still has very heavy interactions with either Elend and/or Vin. It could be Tindwyl since she came into play fairly late into the storyline. But I’m not sure that would necessarily line up with her actions of helping Elend and Vin.

  1. What are your thoughts on the crew and the new roles they are having to play in Elend’s government?
Courtney: I like the direction the crew has taken in this novel. We haven’t had much time with any of them recently, but when we do I like what I see. Ham is the main one we’ve seen, through interaction with Elend, and I like their relationship. Ham is a little more serious. I also like what we’ve seen of Clubs and Breeze. Each of the crew has taken it upon themselves to make sure the city stands, in their own way, and it’s nice to see the way they work together. Even when they argue.  

Saloni: With Kelsier gone, the crew has had to collectively take charge and step up. And even though they’re mostly working behind the scenes we’ve gotten a chance to see each of them a little more. They all have interesting and helpful input that normally would have been shadowed by Kelsier’s dominating personality. I really like the role each of them have played and I really hope to see more of them in the coming books.

The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts~ K C Tansley | Review

Title: The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts (Unbelievables #1)
Author: K C Tansley
Genre: YA Paranormal/Mystery
Length: 256 Pages
Release: July 2015
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

I received a copy of this novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This novel was not quite what I was expecting. I didn't expect for their to be as many paranormal elements involved. I knew there were ghosts, but I thought it would be a time travel novel where the ghosts helped them solve an ancient murder. What I got was a novel filled with curses, magic, and twisted love triangles. 

Although it wasn't what I was expecting, I did enjoy the novel. The characters were likable and fairly well developed. The murder mystery was fascinating (as they usually are). I found the curse on the Radcliffe family intriguing and it kept me guessing throughout the book. 

Kat is a likable character, but I found her connection with the unbelievables to be somewhat confusing. She was a believer who was pretending not to believe and forgetting about them, but then was suddenly a believer again. I don't know, it was all very circular thinking that I couldn't keep clear in my head. 

When Kat and Evan are transported back in time (into the bodies of two of the wedding guests for the couple they are researching), things became very twisted. I enjoyed seeing events from Toria and Kat, but the swap between the two thoughts was a bit abrupt at times. All of the characters from the 1800s were quite fascinating and had some very mixed up love lives. Sometimes it was hard to keep track of who exactly was in love with whom. 

The novel was an enjoyable read, but at times it was tackling too much. There were a lot of connections between the characters from the past and those from the present. The connections were interesting, but very paranormal based. An enjoyable read with lots of potential.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mistborn: The Well of Ascension Discussion #2

Saloni, from My Fantabulous Bookshelf, and I are still busy reading The Well of Ascension, the second book in the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. As we read we've been putting together discussion posts and it's time for our second post about this book. As a warning, there are spoilers for the first novel and slight spoilers through part two of this novel, so if you haven't read it yet, you may want to wait to read this post. 

  1. Now that we know a bit more about the Watcher (Zane), what are some thoughts you have?
Courtney: I don’t like love triangles, and this is verging on a love triangle, so I am not thrilled about that. However, I do think that Zane adds to the story. His presence itself is a challenge to Vin because she so badly wants another Mistborn around. At the same time she doesn’t know if she can or should trust him (I’m leaning toward definitely not). Since he’s Straff’s son and thus Elend’s brother, he also adds tension in the political side of the story. I’m also wondering where his insanity is leading, that has to be hinting at some bigger plot element. 

Saloni: While I didn’t expect Zane to be Elend’s brother, I’m not all that surprised. It makes for an interesting plot twist both politically and personally. I sense an interesting love triangle begin to emerge between Elend, Vin and Zane but I also see interesting complications in the political alliance between Zane, Straff and Elend. I’m excited for these relationships to be fleshed out a bit more and involve more interactions.

  1. What are your thoughts on Tindwyl?
Courtney: Tindwyl is a rather interesting character and it will be interesting to see more of her interactions with Elend, Vin, and the rest of the crew. We don’t know much of her background yet, so I’m hoping that we might get some more insight into what makes her the way she is. Having her around is definitely an interesting comparison to Sazed, since he’s the only other Terrisman we’ve really been exposed to. I would really like to see more interactions between those two. 

Saloni: I really hope that Tindwyl is who she says she is. As of now I really like her character and the personality she brings to the characters. She has taken up the role of mother to both Elend and Vin and is already having such an impact on their lives. I’m excited to see how her character moves forward with the rest of the crew and I do hope we see more of her.

  1. Do you think Elend will continue to fight for his throne? If not, who do you think will try to take the power?
Courtney: I don’t think that Elend will completely give up his fight for the throne, but it does throw them into an interesting position. With the siege of Luthadel taking place it’s not an ideal time for political conflict. I’m not sure who would take the throne in Elend’s place, but I’m guessing one of the men on the Assembly is hoping to claim the power for himself.  

Saloni: After all the work that everyone did getting Elend into the throne and maintaining it, I don’t think it should be that easy for the Assembly to remove him. There’s no way Elend and the crew would accept defeat that quickly. But adding a fight for power to the already taxing war wouldn’t be smart for the city of Luthadel.

  1. How do you think the daytime Mist and the Lord Ruler’s death are connected?
Courtney: The Lord Ruler was connected to the mist somehow, I don’t know how. I think when he told Vin that she had no idea what he did for the world before she killed him was related to this. The power he gained at the Well of Ascension must have given him some connection with the mist that was broken upon his death.   

Saloni: My only guess was that the Lord Ruler connected himself to some type of force at the Well of Ascension, a force that restrained the movement of the Mists. His death freed the Mists which subsequently freed the shadowy creatures inside the Mist.

  1. Do you think that there’s any connection between the Hero of Ages and Vin?
Courtney: There seems to be some connection purely based on the fact that Vin can see the same shadow creature in the mist that the Hero of Ages saw, but I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it’s linked through her Allomancy somehow and the fact that she’s Mistborn. Perhaps this odd connection is somehow caused by the Lord Ruler, since he was the one who killed the Hero of Ages and then Vin killed him. How that would work I have no idea, but there could be something there.  

Saloni: Considering only the two of them can see the strange shadowy creatures of the Mist there is definitely some type of connection though I’m not sure whether it’s genetic. It’s very possible that the Hero of Ages left behind a heir before he was killed and Vin is a distant descendant of him, which would explain her inherent excellence in allomancy.

  1. Which character do you feel has had the most development in this novel and do you like the direction the character is headed?
Courtney: Elend has without a doubt had the most development in my opinion. Vin seems stuck in one mindset, but I’m hoping to get more growth from her as the novel progresses. Elend, on the other hand, has grown in leaps and bounds. Personally, I like where he’s headed. I’ve always adored his character, but with Tindwyl forcing him to become more confident and kingly I’ve grown to appreciate him more. I also like that he’s so supportive of Vin, no he doesn’t always understand her, and yes he makes mistakes, but he’s trying to be the best he can and is developing with each chapter. 

Saloni: I have to agree with Courtney. While Vin has made a lot of progress from the beginning of the first book, she seems to slowly be going back to a state of confusion and indecision. Elend has taken a position of responsibility, going from a disheveled heir to a confident leader. While his appearance and demeanor has changed, we slowly begin to see that seep into his personality and his true self. I can’t wait to see more of this and more of Elend.

  1. Vin and OreSeur have put aside many of their differences and even seem to be headed toward friendship, what do you think about this relationship?
Courtney: I feel like this is going to have a significant impact at some point in the future. We still don’t know much about kandra, although we know much more than we did in the previous novel. Their budding friendship didn’t seem likely, but it does seem important. I don’t know how this will affect things in the future, but I’m enjoying the development now. They can be quite entertaining together. 

Saloni: I really really love this relationship. For me, the best types of relationship brew from hatred. They’re slowly beginning to understand each other and maybe even like each other. Their personalities complement each other in a complex way and while I’m sure it will help the plot somehow, it really is just entertaining to read about.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

For Honor We Stand~H Paul Honsinger | Review

Title: For Honor We Stand (Man of War #2)
Author: H Paul Honsinger
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 510 Pages
Release: February 2013
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

I received a copy of this novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

One of the great things about this series is that Honsinger obviously knows his Navy history and terminology, I'm no expert, but what I do know is constantly coming up in this series. It's nice to see an author passionate about a topic and use that passion to fuel their fiction. 

This novel picks up shortly after the events of the first installment in the trilogy and is more action packed than the first. Max and his crew aboard the Cumberland are faced with daunting situation after daunting situation. And he always comes up with some crazy plan that works, at least mostly.

The characters in this series are fun and consistent. Max is a risk taking captain with good instincts. I do wish that we got to see a bit more of his flaws because sometimes he just seems too perfect, but I really enjoy him. Bram, the doctor, is a genius with little knowledge about war ships and naval jargon. He always entertains me and I enjoy the fact that he always wants to be right in the middle of things. The rest of the crew (Brown particularly) are lots of fun and I enjoy the occasional perspective we get from them. They all play off each other so well, which can be a hard feat when writing a novel. 

Duflot, a commanding officer that Max and his crew are assigned to work with, is one of the most irritating characters I believe I've ever read. As soon as he was introduced I was wanting him to leave. He did add to the story, however, and was well written. It was not a lack on Honsinger's side, just a character to be disliked. 

Max was forced to face some of his old issues in this novel through interactions with various members of his crew. Some of his trauma was brought into light and helped give him more depth. His and Bram's growing friendship was nice to see as well. 

The end of this novel was intense and exciting. I'm really excited to read the third novel and see where all of the characters and this battle with the Krag goes.  

Tuesday Talks | Tall Mass Market Paperbacks

Tuesday Talks is a goodreads discussion group created and run by Janie and Janelle. We discuss bookish topics every Tuesday through goodreads, booktube, and blogging. Join in and have fun!

My Thoughts on Tall Mass Market Paperbacks
I don't have much experience with tall paperbacks to be honest, I mostly have the original, shorter versions, when I have paperbacks. I do have a couple of taller ones and have checked a few out from the library, so I'll share a few thoughts. 

I can't say that I hate them, because I haven't read enough of them to feel that way. I do think that I prefer the shorter version or hardcover over these taller paperbacks though. They just have a different feel and are somehow harder for me to read than the shorter ones. The binding is usually more difficult to manipulate while reading and don't like that. I prefer shorter, softer books. 

So I guess I don't like them but I don't hate them either. I find them rather pointless overall and don't really understand why they were designed to begin with. 

What do you think about these taller paperbacks? Like them, dislike them? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Skinjacker Trilogy~Neal Shusterman | Review

You may or may not know that I love the UnWind dystology by Neal Shusterman. I've been wanting to pick up Neal's Skinjacker trilogy for a while and I finally did this month. Instead of writing an individual review for each book I decided to combine them and do a series review. So here are some of my thoughts on this series. 

The series consists of three novels: Everlost, Everwild, and Everfound, which were published from 2006-2011. They are focused around a group of teenagers who are in a limbo phase between life and death. The target audience would be middle grade or YA. 

Neal Shusterman has a unique and compelling writing style. I don't know that I've ever read anyone that I would compare him to. Even his content and characters are all his own. When he writes dystopia you know that you're going to get something different than most other dystopias. That is true here. This is a far different experience to most other paranormal novels I've read, particularly for this target audience. 

The characters in this series are compelling, intelligent, funny, and just plain interesting. Nick and Allie are the two main characters in the beginning; teens who find there way to the land of Everlost when their cars collide and they are thrown from the vehicles. On their way into the light that beckons them toward death, Nick and Allie collide and are derailed into Everlost. They soon find other lost children and entire kingdom of souls governed by Mary Hightower. 

The first novel follows Nick and Allie as they deal with their deaths, both together and apart. Each of them has strengths and weaknesses and each of them wants to go home. But in Everlost going home is dangerous. While standing in the living world Everlights begin to sink, spiraling down toward the center of the earth, and going home speeds up the process. When Nick and Allie meet Mary, things start to look up. But when they discover that Mary is not quite what she seems they must choose a side. Reading about their adventures as they come to terms with their positions in Everlost and determine what path they should take is fascinating and fun. 

The first novel is really a great set up for the rest of the series. Nick and Mary fall in love, but are on two different paths as far as beliefs and ethics go. The two are forced to become enemies: Nick working to free the lost souls and send them on their way; Mary trying to trap them in a state of constant repetition. Allie meets Mikey McGill, a boy with the ability to transform into any number of monstrous creatures. The two begin a partnership that carries them all over the land of Everlost. 

Of all the characters, Nick is by far my favorite. Throughout the first novel he grows and develops in such a beautiful way. He starts as any other fourteen year old boy might, but soon determines that he has a bigger purpose in Everlost. His development continues in book two when he has become the Chocolate Ogre and works to raise an army to defeat Mary and her band of everlights. 

While Nick is my favorite, I do enjoy all of the characters. Allie can be annoying, but is a good person. Mary is very bad and so creepy. Mikey is misunderstood and lacks confidence. Jix, a character we don't meet until book three, is opportunistic and real. Milos, introduced in book two, is a skinjacker-someone who can control the bodies of the living-like Allie, but has a twisted sense of right and wrong. He's very insecure and falls in love easily. Jackin' Jill is twisted, but ultimately just a lost girl. Together the cast of characters makes for a fascinating collection that play really well off of each other. 

The world that Shusterman created in this series was fascinating and just honestly blew me away. Everything was described and explained so beautifully that I felt like I was there in Everlost with everyone else. One of the things I found most interesting was that not only did children have the potential to cross into Everlost, but also objects and places that no longer exist in the real world but that had been loved while they did. The Twin Towers in New York make an appearance, the Titanic, churches, planes, trains. So many different locations and objects. Each of these plays a key part in the series somehow. 

My main drawback with this series is honestly that every single main character has to find some kind of a soul mate and fall in love. I'm not opposed to love, but I found this to be a bit too much. Particularly since they are all 14-17 years old. It just took things a bit too far for my liking in that regard. Still, the books were fun, creepy, fascinating, and just plain intriguing. 

I gave every book in the series 4/5 stars. An excellent series and I highly recommend it to those who either enjoy Shusterman's writing or enjoy paranormal novels. You won't regret reading this series.   

Friday, July 24, 2015

Mistborn: The Well of Ascension Discussion #1

If you've been following along with our discussion posts then you know that Saloni, from My Fantabulous Bookshelf, and I have been reading the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson and we're now moving into book two. Here is our first discussion post. There are spoilers for book one and some mild spoilers for the first section of this book, so if you have yet to read you may want to wait until you've read up to this point. Feel free to discuss the questions with me in the comments below. 

What are your expectations going into this novel after finishing The Final Empire?
Courtney: Going into the second book of a series is always difficult. The Final Empire is an excellent read, but Second Book Syndrome has a tendency of dragging down a good thing. I’m hoping for more building of the characters and magic system. Expectations are definitely set very high.  

Saloni: I honestly loved The Final Empire and Brandon Sanderson has already set the bar so high with every aspect of the book. I hope the rest of the series continues this beautiful trend that Sanderson has started, but of course I am a little wary. Sequels are known for being worse than their original counterparts but I’m hoping that is not the case for this series.

Any thoughts on OreSeur, Vin’s kandra?
Courtney: OreSeur is an interesting addition. He was present in The Final Empire, but we never really saw him. The contract is constantly being mentioned, so I think that will play some role. I don’t know if he will break the contract in some way, but there has to be something going on here. The obvious dislike he and Vin have for each other is also an interesting touch to the story. It will be interesting to see how this partnership works out. 

Saloni: He has an interesting complexity to him. There’s constantly this reminder of the Contract, which essentially binds the kandra to Vin. I feel like the strength of the contract will come into play somehow within the plot. It might save Vin or it might end up killing her. I know Kelsier essentially bought the Contract, but is there a way for the Contract to switch hands or perhaps run out? It’s possible that if that happens the kandra could turn on Vin?

Do you think that Elend will be able to defend his kingdom against Straff and Cett?
Courtney: This will likely be the major plot of the novel. Elend obviously can’t defend himself with force, but he’s a genius in many ways and has been reading on politics his entire life. I don’t know if Elend’s kingdom will fall, but I think he will come up with a plan to defeat at least one of his opponents. If he can get his kingdom to listen to him.

Saloni: We know that Elend’s army is way too small to physically defeat Straff and Cett’s armies and I don’t think they’re going to be defeated right away (mostly because there has to be some type of story). I think Elend is going to try to use negotiations and intelligence in order to defeat at least one of the other armies.

What are your thoughts about the Watcher, the other Mistborn that haunts the city?  
Courtney: He’s definitely an intriguing character. Is he bad or good? A little of both, perhaps? He obviously doesn’t want Vin dead...yet at least. He has to have some bigger plan at work, but until we learn more about him it’s hard to say what he might be planning and how that will affect Vin, Elend, and the rest of the crew. 

Saloni: Honestly, I’m not completely sure. He’s obviously crucial to the plot somehow, but I do think it’s important that he’s not a bloodthirsty assassin like we’ve already seen. He’s planning something, but I don’t think he wants Vin dead. I think he needs her for some plan he’s concocting

Who do you think is the imposter in Kelsier’s crew?
Courtney: There are so many different ways this element could play out. I feel like it being one of the Crew is actually a stretch. It just doesn’t feel right. I also don’t think it’s Elend. Perhaps it’s not someone in the inner circle, but someone on Elend’s staff or in his army. Someone with just enough power to get to Elend and the crew, but not enough to sway things too drastically. 

Saloni: The one thing I’ve learned from mysteries is that the truth is something completely unexpected. Now that Vin has already suspected so many people, I don’t think it’s Spook, Dockson, or Clubs. I have one of two theories: one is that it’s Elend, which is very unlikely but the first thing I thought nonetheless, and the other is that the imposter isn’t even in Kelsier’s crew but rather someone else. Maybe the kandra digested the Lord Ruler’s body? There’s so much that could happen, I have no idea.

What are your thoughts on Vin and Elend’s relationship so far?
Courtney: While I really love the Vin and Elend pairing, I’m not sure it’s presented in the best way. Part of this might be how frustrating Vin can sometimes be to me. There’s an imbalance in their relationship: she’s a Mistborn, but he’s the king. I want more development here. I’m still for their relationship, I just don’t know how I feel about some of it so far. 

Saloni: It’s a very interesting relationship and I’m not completely sure I love it as much as I used to. I’ve noticed that the crew tends to talk around Vin as though she’s not even there, treating her very much like a child. While Vin is extremely strong and independent, Elend’s superior position seems to cast Vin to the side and as soon as she’s in his presence she becomes a young teenager in my mind.

How do you think the lack of atium will play into the main plot?
Courtney: It will definitely affect the Misborn, since some of them have it and others don’t, but it could also be a hinderance to the kingdom as a whole. Since the Lord Ruler’s atium supply was nonexistent there could be problems for Elend and trying to maintain the kingdom. The use of atium by Mistborn seems to be where most of the issues would come in.  

Saloni: So far it’s been affecting the Mistborns, specifically Vin. But I think it will become a method of negotiation somehow. Perhaps the logbook will make a reappearance and lead Elend and the crew to the stockpile of atium that the Lord Ruler had. I think it would make as a good negotiating resource.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Beautiful Bloggers Award

I would like to start by saying thank you Saloni from My Fantabulous Bookshelf for nominating me for this Beautiful Bloggers award!

  • Link to the blogger/bloggers who nominated you
  • List seven, random facts about yourself 
  • Nominate seven creative, beautiful bloggers and notify them
Seven Random Facts About Me
  1. I love visiting cemeteries. They are some of the most peaceful places on earth to me.
  2. I would rather live with cold weather than hot. 
  3. I have 12 horses. Well, only two of them are mine but I help take care of them all. 
  4. I love American Sign Language and hope to teach math to deaf students in the future.
  5. I love water and the ocean but I can't swim (at least not well).
  6. I have yet to venture outside of The United States (although I hope to visit my sister in London within the next year).
  7. I was a writer before I knew how to read.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tuesday Talks | Standalones, Series, Trilogies? & Do you Imitate Characters?

Today is going to be a double post of Tuesday Talks topics. I was preparing for vacation last week and between that and work I was never able to post, so you can have my thoughts today. The group was created by Janie and Janelle and we discuss bookish topics every week, so come and join us.

Standalones, Series, or Trilogies?
For me it really depends on the book and the story that is being told. In general I tend to prefer either a trilogy or a longer series because you can get to know the characters better and build a more complex story in a longer series. At the same time though, I appreciate when an author knows that their story should remain a standalone and doesn't try to force it. I've read some excellent books that are not part of anything bigger and it hasn't ruined my enjoyment. Sometimes you can tell while reading that the story was forced and I don't enjoy that. Stick to the length that best tells your story. 

What do you think? Do you enjoy a standalone novel or a longer series more? 

Imitating Characters
You know, I actually kind of do imitate characters as I'm reading. Particularly ones that I really like. I'll create a voice for them and say things in that voice or imitate things they might have done. It makes the characters seem more real. Like my family and friends, I imitate them sometimes or mimic them, and it always gives us a laugh. I don't know what else to say on this topic really. It's just fun to connect with the story by mimicking or imitating the characters sometimes.

What about you, do you ever imitate characters while you're reading? Or after you've read even. Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fourth Son~Monica Poole | Review

Title: Fourth Son (The Trimar Republic #1)
Author: Monica Poole
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 365 Pages
Release: March 2015
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I have rather mixed feelings about this novel. The overall story was interesting, but it could use some polishing and fleshing out to improve the overall flow and coherence. It was definitely worth the read. 

The beginning of the novel was very slow. Almost the entire first half covered the events of a single night and day. There were flash backs thrown in as Jahnes recalled various things that had happened to him growing up, but at times these lacked connection for me. After the first half of the novel things started to pick up and time passed more rapidly. At times it passed too quickly though. Jahnes relationship with Lelah was sudden, with flashbacks to their first meetings, and I think this would have worked better with just a bit more of an introduction. So pacing was the main issue for me. 

While I didn't love the characters, I did enjoy them. Jahnes was very likable, if a bit hasty at times. We see the events of the novel through his eyes, so we get to know him very well. His family was not a huge part of the story, but the family connection and what he did in order to protect them was a nice touch. The relationship between Jahnes and Bhen was one where I never knew how to feel. At times Bhen seemed to really care for Jahnes and at others not. Overall I really liked this father son relationship. 

The magic, or whatever you want to call the abilities that Jahnes and some of the other characters have, was interesting, but I never felt like I had enough information. Jahnes didn't know much about his abilities or who had them or what they did so we, as readers, are kind of left in the dark as well. Toward the end there were some revelations that explained some of the significance. The ending definitely left me with a lot of questions. I'm sure most of these will be answered in the next installment of the series. 

Overall this was an enjoyable read with an interesting societal structure. There are definitely some improvements that could be made, but I'm sure the following books in the series will bring many of my questions to light. A good introduction to a new series.   

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Mistborn: The Final Empire Discussion #5

Saloni, from MyFantabulousBookshelf, and I have reached the end of the first book in the Mistborn trilogy. You can follow our journey through this novel by visiting our discussion posts on each section here on my blog or on Saloni's blog. Be warned, there are spoilers ahead so if you have not yet read the novel you may want to wait until then to read this post.

Were you surprised to find out that the Lord Ruler was an Allomancer as well as a Feruchemist? Do you think this will have any impact on the future of Luthadel and the Empire?
Courtney: This did come as quite a surprise to me. We knew he had Allomancy because everyone could feel it, but to find out that he could also use Feruchemy was quite a shock. I did wonder about all of the metal that he wore though, which was explained by this. As far as this impacting the future, I think it will in some ways. I think there is a lot regarding the Lord Ruler that was left open and will continue to plague them, no matter if he’s dead or alive.  

Saloni: I didn’t expect this, but I expected that there was something different about the Lord Ruler that made him so powerful. I think the idea that both are possible at the same time opens a door to a whole other section of the magic system, one which will be expanded on in the second book.

What do you think of the new government the crew is helping to install? Do you think they will face any major setbacks in trying to make Elend king?
Courtney: I think it’s interesting that they’ve placed Elend in charge, but it definitely makes sense. Like he said it gives them more of a legitimate stand since he’s a nobleman. I do think they will face some backlash from the remaining noblemen, as was mentioned briefly. Elend is still very idealistic and I think that could come back at him eventually. It will be interesting to see how everyone adjusts to their new positions. 

Saloni: It’s interesting that Lord Elend is being put in charge simply because they were so suspicious of him throughout the whole book. And while we’ve learned so much about him I wouldn’t think it would be enough to entrust a whole kingdom upon him. I think it’ll be good for the public since nobility would still be in charge, but it would definitely create some tension between the houses.

Which character do you hope to see more of in book two?
Courtney: There are many characters that I want to see more of, but the two most prominent are Elend and Marsh. I loved Elend’s character in this book, but I don’t feel like we really spent enough time with him. I want to see more of him and from his perspective in book two. I also think it will be interesting to see his growth as he takes on being a king. As far as Marsh goes, I just find him fascinating. I would also like to see how he is reacting to being an Inquisitor and if that will have any negative affects on him. 

Saloni: I love Elend, so of course Elend. I want to know more about his curiosity and his personality and delve a bit more into his mind. But I think another great character would be Sazed. Throughout the first book he’s always been the side character and looked at as almost secondary to the Mistborn. But his powers as a Terrisman fascinate me and I would love to learn more about them in the second book.

In your opinion which character has had the most development?
Courtney: While I think almost all of the characters have had some development, I feel that Kelsier had the most in this novel. Vin grew, but at the same time she was constantly reverting back to old habits and ways of thinking. Kelsier made a lot of mistakes and learned from those mistakes. We also got some information about who he had been in the past and I feel like where he ended up was so much beyond what he’d been. I will miss having his character around.  

Saloni: I’m caught between Vin and Kelsier. Vin’s growth was fairly cliche. She went from someone who didn’t know how to trust and love to someone who did. But Kelsier, on the other hand, matured in a more poignant way. He saw the effect his actions had and became a little less impulsive, or at least impulsive in a smarter way.

How do you think Sanderson will expand on the magic system in book two?
Courtney: A lot of potential development was left open regarding the metals. Vin discovered things about the Eleventh Metal that they hadn’t known or expected. There are also more metals out there it seems and they just don’t know which ones or how to use them yet. I think this will be explored more in book two. Knowing Vin she will be determined to track down all Allomantic metals and figure out their secrets. 

Saloni: There were so many things they introduced at the end of the first book it would impossible not to expand on the magic system in the next book. We’ve learned that Feruchemy and Allomancy can be used together and that there are more metals than the original ten/eleven we knew about. There’s so much more to learn in book two.

Do you think the logbook will play an importance later on or was its main purpose to expose the true identity of the Lord Ruler?
Courtney: While the logbook did play an important part in Vin’s discovering the Lord Ruler’s true identity, I don’t think we’re done with it yet. I think there are still secrets about the Lord Ruler and his reign over the Empire that can be answered or at least explored through the experiences recounted in the logbook. I’m not sure how that will happen, but I don’t think it has expended all of its usefulness yet.  

Saloni: I think the ultimate purpose of the logbook for the first book was to reveal the Lord Ruler’s true identity, but perhaps in the second book it will be used to uncover more secrets regarding Feruchemy and Allomancy. I’m not sure who will find the secrets and how, but I think it is very possible.

Overall, how did the book compare to your expectations?
Courtney: I can give two answers to this question, kind of. The first time I read it I know it completely blew me away. I had no expectations going into it that time around and ended up completely loving it. This time around is not much different. It definitely lived up to my memories and reminded me why I had loved it so much in the first place. It’s just a beautifully written novel and the world and characters are so real.   

Saloni: When I first started it I was a bit skeptical simply because high fantasy is usually not my thing. But once the main plot was introduced, I found it impossible to put down. There is something about Brandon Sanderson’s writing that pulls the reader into the story. I’ve been in a slump for the last couple of months since I just couldn’t find a book I really loved, but now I think I found one.

If you could change one thing about the ending, what would it be?
Courtney: Honestly, I think I would change Vin a little bit. I don’t feel like the ending was a good place for her as a character. While she had gone to Elend (which I think was great), I don’t feel like she had actually learned enough about love and friendship based on where her mental state was at that point. She is trying and I really like her, I just think her emotional and mental state was a low point for the novel to end on.   

Saloni: Honestly, I have no idea. I’d say I wouldn’t want Kelsier to die, but I understand that his death was necessary to galvanize the full rebellion, but I really liked him and his relationship with Vin. He served as a father figure/ older brother; the dependable kind that Vin never had. I understand why he needed to die and everything, but I really wanted more of Vin and Kelsier’s relationship.