November readings | Adventures on Land and Sea

Title: The Eye of the World
Series: The Wheel of Time #1
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre(s): Epic, High Fantasy, Adventure
Page count: 814 pages
Published: 15 November 1990

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Title: Fable
Series: Fable #1
Author: Adrienne Young
Genre(s): YA, Adventure, Romance, Fantasy
Page count: 357 pages
Published: 1 September 2020

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Fable | Adrienne Young

For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one, and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father, and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him, and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

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How was it? Well it took me a little over a year to finish this book. I know that sounds bad but some books are like that, they take me months to finish them. I read half of it in one sitting and was enveloped in the world building but just has everything was set up – because that the first half is mostly that – I stopped reading.

As much as I ended up liking this book, it has some aspects that are eye roll worthy, bringing the quality down. I paused right in the middle of an action sequence, which is odd for me, but the book was getting to a point where I felt that most of the world building was done. The setting of this book is one of the best thing about it. I loved learning about it, the different places, what made up the crew of a ship, the trade guild or the idea of Gem Sages, the author does a great job at laying all that out. It’s not too complicated and it feels real.

However, when the focus was shifting more to other characters and tried to move the plot forward, the story lost its shine a bit. The problem is part of the plot is vague and the other is predictable; as for the other characters – mainly the crew of the Marygold – the further you got from West, the less you knew about them. I can barely remember their names and am not sure how many of them there were. Also as charming as these characters were, they’re not believable as the crew of a ship. Their young age might make them seem like underdogs compared to the other ships but given how these other crews are described it’s a wonder that they’re still alive and retained their ship.

There’s also some romance in this book, thank goodness it’s doesn’t take much space but it’s USELESS. It seemed liked an obligatory added on thing, as if it can only be a YA novel if someone catches feelings. I don’t mind romance, in fact I read a lot of it but it was unnecessary here.

Besides the world building, the other aspect of the book that I liked is Fable. She’s driven, brave and a great character to follow. I may not have liked all of her choices but I enjoyed going on this adventure with her.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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September readings | Classics, Space Operas, Magic & Erotica

Title: Dune
Series: Dune #1
Author: Frank Herbert
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Fantasy, Space Opera, Adventure
Page count: 688 pages
Published: First published June 1965

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Title: The End Zone
Series: Atlanta Lightening #2
Author: Riley Hart
Genre(s): Contemporary, Sports, Romance, MM
Page count: 306 pages
Published: 16 July 2021

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Title: Black Moon
Series: Wolf Moon Rising #1
Author: Sam Burn
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Werewolves
Page count: 330 pages
Published: 22 April 2021

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Title: A Veilled & Hallowed Eve
Series: Soulbound VII
Author: Hailey Turner
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, MM
Page count: 485 pages
Published: 01 October 2021

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Title: Homecoming
Author: Keegan Kennedy
Genre(s): Erotica, MM, Contemporary, BDSM
Page count: 188 pages
Published: 12 April 2013

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Title: Foundation
Series: Foundation #1
Author: Isaac Asimov
Genre(s): Science-Fiction, Space Opera, Fantasy, Classics
Page count: 255 pages
Published: August 1951

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Title: Ashfall Legacy
Author: Pittacus Lore
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult, Fantasy
Page count: 432 pages
Published: 17 August 2021

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Title: Ink & Sigil
Series: Ink & Sigil #1
Author: Kevin Hearne
Genre(s):
Page count:
Published:

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Ashfall Legacy | Pittacus Lore

Pittacus Lore finished telling the story of the Lorien Nine. Now, he’s back to recount an all-new adventure rooted in the real mysteries surrounding Roswell, New Mexico, that will enthrall fans of Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman, and Brandon Sanderson.

We have waited generations for you…

Syd Chambers knows that there’s life on other planets because he’s descended from it. His father was from a distant world called Denza, and has been missing—presumed dead—for years.

When Syd discovers a device his father left behind that shows not only that he’s alive, but where he is, Syd must set out on a mission of his own. But along the way, he discovers a deadly, unbearable secret that could destroy Denza, Earth, and the universe. 

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How was it?

I don’t know if I’m the only one who noticed this but when this book was announced, it was marketed as a spin-off or continuation of the Lorien Legacies. I read all of the Lorien books and really enjoyed them, so I very much expected this book to be linked to the previous series by Pittacus Lore, but it’s not, not really.

By the end of part one, I felt betrayed, like I had been duped. There was no way this book is related to the Lorien Legacies and there was a shroud over this book that had some effect on my enjoyment. However, *minor spoiler/* There’s a blink and you miss it mention of Mogadorians, well more like a suggestion of them, just enough of a description for fan to make that assumption. 😒 *\minor spoiler*

Beside that the story was interesting enough for me to go through it with ease, but I wasn’t very engrossed. In other words it was good enough to keep reading but just as easy to put down. This could have been a book that I’d forget to pick back up if another book had caught my eyes at the time.

The premise is a mash-up of many intellectual properties, you can tell where the inspiration was pulled from. There’s a bit of star wars, a kind of reverse superman – with no heat vision or flight so far, and a famous mythology mixed in toward the end. The mix kind of works for me but the execution is choppy.

However there are clever bits, like in the beginning when my expectations were subverted, or the thing that makes the lost people venerable – it’s a great commentary on that particular race. The characters are almost great but for some of them I barely remembered what they were, between the half-human half-alien ones, and humans born on Denza I got my wired crossed.  As for the different species of aliens featured here they were cool and interesting looking.

Ashfall Legacy is a nice set up for a series that has some potential, the world building and the reveals makes the bulk of what’s interesting about it.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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Foundation | Isaac Asimov

Foundation (Foundation #1) by Isaac Asimov first published 1951

For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future — to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire — both scientists and scholars — and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.

But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun — or fight them and be destroyed. 

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How was it?

If you read this book, it might not be immediately apparent that it was first published in the 1950s. 70 years ago! that little fact blows my mind because except maybe for two things, one of which is the style the story is told, this book could have been written in recent years.

There are many interesting elements in this book, it’s a great story, clearly a space opera but the things that I gravitated toward are the political maneuverings, the clever back and forth between characters, and the use of religion as a tool of mass control. However the monotone way the story is written comes through the page even when you’re not using the audiobook. It’s kind of dry, like reading from a dictionary for the most parts. The characters have names and job titles but little else besides that, they are not very memorable. The most engaging aspect of the story are the themes and concepts that it’s about (Politics, religion, psychohistory, etc.). You pretty much have to read between the lines to draw something out of it.

It’s a broad, imaginative, and innovative book that must have blown people’s minds – and angered some others – in the 50s as I’m sure it still does today. Like Dune, which was published almost 15 years later, Foundation has lot of social and political commentary in it. In fact, the most obvious one is the creation and use of a religion as a mean to control people. This might anger some religious people but the dry tone of the book helps in presenting that idea as a possible powerful tool for control of the masses without really depicting religion itself as a complete fraud but kind of.

As mentioned earlier the other thing that might date this book in the 1950s – maybe it’s my prejudice of the era – but it’s a bit of a sausage fest. I only realized it when a lone female character appeared out of nowhere toward the end and she does nothing for the plot. Not saying that Asimov was misogynistic but it was startling once I realized it.

Foundation is far more interesting than the way it’s written would suggest, it’s one of these books that are worth trudging through for the ideas alone.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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Lux: A Texas Reckoned novel | Brandon Sanderson, Steven Michael Bohls

Lux (The Reckoners) by Brandon Sanderson & Steven Michael Bohls published 22 July 2021

A new team of Reckoners must infiltrate the flying city of Lux to take down the Epic Lifeforce in this audio-exclusive novel from Brandon Sanderson.

When the great red star Calamity appeared in the sky, some believed the end had come. They were right.

Calamity created the Epics: humans with incredible powers they didn’t deserve.

They could have saved mankind. They could have lifted us into harmony and prosperity. Instead they burned. They slaughtered. They conquered. And then they ruled.

Jax has learned all of this the hard way. Orphaned at an early age, he’s spent most of his childhood training to be a Reckoner – determined to find the Epics’ weaknesses, unlock their secrets, and protect those of us who are still left.

But now, the mysterious High Epic Lifeforce has arrived with his flying city, Lux, to plunder what’s left of Texas. So Jax and his ragtag team – the few who remain of the once-mighty Texas Reckoners – must take their battle to this floating fortress of riches – and defeat the invincible.

To avenge what has been lost. And rise anew.

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How was it?

I read The Reckoners novels some time ago; although I was wasn’t very impressed by Calamity I jumped at the opportunity to read this one, not even trying to figure out what it was about. So going in blind, I spent too much time trying to figure out when this story was taking place in the series. I was connecting more events and characters than was necessary instead of just enjoying what turned out to be a somewhat stand alone story, connected to the previous books.

From the start this book feels like a return to form, it’s more in line with Steelheart, Mitosis and Firefight, without the weird shift from Calamity. It’s the reckoners against the Epics, amazing motivator tech and face paced action. Jax, the main character, did get on my nerves because I could see him make mistakes as they were happening and it was driving me nuts. So as much as his reckless behavior annoyed me, it makes him humain and fallible and I liked that in the end. The Texas team feels like the original team in some ways but they’re kind of unique. There’s a romantic connection in this story that I didn’t think was necessary at all but it doesn’t impede the story.

This Texas reckoners novel is well structured and it shows, there are a few things that are set up throughout that come to fruition later on, my only problem with that is that I could see them coming and anticipated quite a few things. It sucked some of the excitement out of a chunk of the novel because there were little to no surprises for me. However I’m still proud of myself for figuring out the Epics’ weaknesses well in advance because of that heavy ended foreshadowing. Even the Steelheart cameo wasn’t a total surprise, because I expected one from a high epic we already knew and the big deal that was made about the thing the character that’s connected to Steelheart has clued me in. The cameo was a bit of a retcon for me but I liked it. In fact, I first suspected the Californian to be Obliteration but that might be because MacLeod Andrews used the a similar voice for both.

Lux is fun to listen to, it stitches itself to the whole reckoners series well with this story ending at the same time as Calamity while suggesting there might be more to come. If there’s a sequel I suspect Obliteration will feature as well since I think he’s still alive.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Are you planning on listening to this book? if you’re a fan of the series and/or the author how do you like this book?

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