Saturday, March 24, 2012

New Blog

I have moved to

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I have wing envy!

The Cloud Roads (Books of the Raksura, #1)The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'd never read any of Martha Wells work when I bought Cloud Roads, and so I was pleasantly surprised when it quickly hooked me. Wells puts a fresh spin on the "self discovery of a hero" theme by giving her protagonist, Moon, the ability to transform into a dragon-like winged beast. She also does a fantastic job of world building her setting: "The Three Worlds." My only complaint was that Moon's race was so different in culture that I had a hard time connecting with him, which sometimes took me out of the story. Very alien creatures work good for secondary characters, but it hurts a story's immersion factor when applied too much to the prime protagonist. Even so, Cloud Roads is a great, quick read that I enthusiastically recommend.

View all my reviews

Friday, February 24, 2012

Green's my favorite color!

Inheritance (Inheritance, #4)Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Christopher Paolini’s long awaited conclusion to the Eragon saga meticulously wraps up every plot thread that the young author has spun in the almost ten years since he was professionally published (something that I found a little irritating). Still, Inheritance was a must-read for me as I loved the first book. But sadly, the sequels Eldest and Brisngr didn’t eclipse the first book’s excellence, and Inheritance is no different. I think that actually made me dislike Inheritance more than I otherwise would have. Instead of going out with a bang, Paolini gives us more of the same with no surprising plot twists or breathtaking revelations. Like with Eldest and Brisngr, Inheritance suffers from long stretches of uninteresting filler chapters, and wooden melodramatic dialogue, with an ending that is sour and anticlimactic. I did like this book, but only because I loved the first one.
P.S – If Star Wars and Lord of the Rings had a baby, and then was adopted by Dragon Riders of Pern, it would look like the Inheritance Cycle….just sayin….

View all my reviews

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


WarbreakerWarbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but this art - while good in its own right - captures none of the essence of the story. In fact, it put me off and I only read this because of my man-crush on Sanderson. Excellent writing, and a good story, but needs a new cover.

View all my reviews

Friday, January 13, 2012

Alloy of Law Review

So no clever title for this post. It probably has to do with the pain meds I am taking for a surgery I just had, so if something in this review doesn't make sense...Eh. Alloy of Law takes place three centuries after the closing scenes of Hero of Ages, the world now in a technological state comparable to the late 1800's in the U.S. The plot centers around Waxillium, an allomancer frontier law-man who returns to the city of Elendel after the tragic death of his lover. Now returned to the life as a nobleman he rejected, Wax struggles to find his place in high society. Unable to leave crime fighting alone, he quickly becomes involved in working against a gang of train robbers calling themselves "The Vanishers" - something that draws the condemnation of his noble peers. What can I say? I love Mistborn, The Well of Ascension, and Hero of Ages. Those are my absolute favorite Sanderson titles, and he has proved time and again that he won't disappoint me. While Alloy of Law does a decent job of explaining the rules of Allomancy and Feurochemy, this book really is for those already familiar with the Mistborn novels. As with Sanderson's other works, Alloy of Law has a thoughtfully planned plot that unfolds with plenty of twists and turns and endearing characters. My only real complaint about Alloy of Law was that it was too short. If you liked the Mistborn Trilogy, Alloy of Law is a must-read. "A" for the short, but enjoyable Alloy of Law.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Story that Might Have Been...Part One

Journey back with me if you will to May 1999, before internet ticket buying, and assigned seating (God bless those who invented assigned seating). You are standing in line outside the newest multi-screen theater, publicly ridiculing but secretly admiring those who dressed up. After about two hours, the ushers start letting you into the theater where you will wait another half hour illegally saving seats and buying overpriced candy and soda. The enthusiasm of the crowd is electric, and you can't help but feel like a kid on Christmas, especially if you have waited twenty years for this moment. The lights go down, the familiar music blares out of the DTS sound system, and your entire childhood seems to return in an instant. But about ten minutes into the movie, your heart starts to sink, and you realize that, as flashy and pretty as it is, this is not YOUR Star Wars.

Yes, I was describing my experience at the opening night of The Phantom Menace, and with the 3D version soon hitting theaters, all of that old pain and disappointment has been drudged up. So, I am finally going to put all of my complaining and criticizing to a constructive use in order to help others see the story that might have been. Think of this as my "Ninety-Five Thesis" except less important, and not as long - although because I have a lot to say, I will split it into parts, this being the intro.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Why the Hero's Mentor Has to Die.

Obi Wan Kenobi, Dumbledore, Brom, Kelsier, and Gandalf. What do these fictional characters have in common? Well, they were all mentors to great heroes, but each of them also did not live to see their protégé’s win the day (well Gandalf cheated and came back to life). So why does a hero’s senex have to die? Do they have to die? What would happen if they didn’t die or leave the hero to finish their work? I believe the answer to this question is yes, the mentor must die (or leave) in order for the hero to rise to his or her full potential. Why? Well, let’s look at an everyday example.

Stevie is a 25 year-old, single male who lives in his parent’s basement. He has a part time job at the local burger-joint, but doesn’t pay rent, buy groceries, or worry about dependents. The only way Stevie will see the need to go to college, save money, or get a full time job is if he is forced out of his moocher’s, comfort zone. In short, Stevie’s parents have to kick him out in order for him to develop ambition or go anywhere in life. You get the point.

When a hero embarks on his journey, he or she is usually weak, vulnerable, and always inexperienced. Consequently, they need protection, training, and an education. They need someone to give them a reason to fight, a reason that is driven home by the sacrifice of their mentor. Think about it. How much more motivated did Luke Skywalker become in fighting the Empire when Ben Kenobi was reduced to a pile of robes by Darth Vader? He didn’t really start growing up until everything Obi Wan taught him about the evil of their enemies was illustrated in his being slain by those very villains. Therefore, the mentor capstones all of his preaching and moral instruction with an object lesson – one that says “this is what you’re fighting and this is how important it is for you to fight it.”

But how does the death of the mentor make the hero stronger? Aside from galvanizing the hero into determined action, the absence of the mentor exposes the hero to the full threat of his enemies (Harry Potter 7 is an excellent example of this). Like the resistance of weight-training, the facing of death and danger forces the hero to stretch, draw on all of his or her resources, forge their own alliances, and ultimately grow stronger. Without this, the hero would never rise to the challenge of changing the world.

So the next time someone says, Dumbledore shouldn't have had to die, you can answer; if he didn't Harry would've never saved the world.