Friday, January 25, 2019

Book Review: God's Last Breath by Sam Sykes

This is the final book in the Bring Down Heaven series by Sam Sykes. This is quite an epic conclusion to what is an exciting trilogy consisting of The City Stained Red, The Mortal Tally, and God's Last Breath. I started reading this book after Sykes' clever marketing strategy on twitter. Even if you only casually follow him, you realize he is a funny character and you end up genuinely curious about his books. It worked and it was worth it; this is some of the best fantasy I've read in a while.

So without further ado, let's get on with the review. As always, I try to avoid spoilers for this particular book, but spoilers for prior books in the series may be unavoidable.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Favorite Books of 2018

It's that time of year again when I look back at what I read in the past year and decide what was memorable or not. This year, I've only managed 11 books missing my goal of 12. I am 50% through my 12th one, though, so I might be able to finish it before the end of the year. According to Goodreads, these 11 books amounted to only 3735 pages making it one of the years I read the least. Mainly this was due to other things occupying my time. I also didn't write a review for everything I read. While I generally enjoy doing that, sometimes I find the process draining and can lead me to artificially slowing down the book while I come up with what to write.

Nevertheless, here are some of my favorite books this year. As always, remember that these are books *I* read in 2018, not necessarily those that were published in 2018.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Book Review: Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

I'm a big fan of Sanderson's work, so when there's a new book of his I'll generally pick it up even if I don't know too much about it. Skyward is one such example. The only thing I knew was that it was a take on the "boy with his dragon" story except that it's a girl with her spaceship. Still, knowing Sanderson I knew it would be a wild ride with great characters and an awesome world. I was not disappointed.

Read on for my full review.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Book Review: The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman

This is the third and final book of The Magicians series by Lev Grossman. It has been many years since I read the first two so I didn't remember all the details, just the general gist of things. Still, picking this up after so long was easy enough to do and I don't think I lost much by not remember some of the events of the prior books. I had also recently watched the first season on TV, which I think spans beyond just the first book and helped me remember some of the finer points I had forgotten about.

For my full review, see below. I aim to avoid spoilers for this book, but the other two books may be unavoidable. My readings of the prior books predate my blog, but you can find a brief review of the second book, The Magician King, on Goodreads.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Book Review: The Mortal Tally by Sam Sykes

The Mortal Tally is the second book in the Bring Down Heaven series by Sam Sykes. Sykes is an outright personality on Twitter with hilarious anecdotes and interactions with his fellow authors. Here is Goodread's blurb for The Mortal Tally:
The heart of civilization bleeds. 
Cier'Djaal, once the crowning glory of the civilized world, has gone from a city to a battlefield and a battlefield to a graveyard. Foreign armies clash relentlessly on streets laden with the bodies of innocents caught in the crossfire. Cultists and thieves wage shadow wars, tribal armies foment outside the city's walls, and haughty aristocrats watch the world burn from on high. 
As his companions struggle to keep the city from destroying itself, Lenk travels to the Forbidden East in search of the demon who caused it all. But even as he pursues Khoth-Kapira, dark whispers plague his thoughts. Khoth-Kapira promises him a world free of war where Lenk can put down his sword at last. And Lenk finds it hard not to listen. 
When gods are deaf, demons will speak.
Read on for my spoiler-free review.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Book Review: The Wandering Earth by Liu Cixin

The Wandering Earth is a collection of short stories by Liu Cixin and translated by Ken Liu, Elizabeth Hanlon, Zac Haluza, Adam Lanphier, and Holger Nahm. I picked this up at Balticon, a local science fiction and fantasy convention. I had already read the titular short story (you can find my review here), but had not yet read any of the other ones. Because this is not a novel, I won't review it in the same fashion but rather give you my impressions as a whole.

Read on after the jump for my impressions.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Book Review: Ringworld by Larry Niven

I recently picked up Ringworld by Larry Niven on a whim and since I saw his name mentioned on the Balticon 52 guest list. I've heard of his work before and seeing it on a bookstore decided to give it a go. It stands on it's own, but I've seen that it's also part of a series as well, so I may consider looking at some of the others.
Pierson's puppeteers, three-leg two-head aliens find immense structure in unexplored part of the universe. Frightened of meeting the builders, they send a team of two humans, a puppeteer and a kzin, eight-foot red-fur catlike alien. Ringworld is 180 million miles across, sun at center. But the expedition crashes, and crew face disastrously long trek.
Read on for my spoiler-free review.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Book Review: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Left Hand of Darkness has been on my to-read list for a very long time. It's recognized as one of Ursula K. Le Guin's best novels and a hallmark of science fiction literature having won countless awards. With her passing a few months ago, I realized it was past time I get to this book and finally found the time to read it. Here's the official blurb:
On the planet Winter, there is no gender. The Gethenians can become male or female during each mating cycle, and this is something that humans find incomprehensible. 
The Ekumen of Known Worlds has sent an ethnologist to study the Gethenians on their forbidding, ice-bound world. At first he finds his subjects difficult and off-putting, with their elaborate social systems and alien minds. But in the course of a long journey across the ice, he reaches an understanding with one of the Gethenians — it might even be a kind of love
See below for my spoiler-free review.