Monday, December 31, 2012

Book Review: The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Everyone in fantasy knows Terry Pratchett. He's one of the big guys in the genre. And yet I am almost, but not quite, ashamed to admit to not having read any of his works until now. When I was young and living in Puerto Rico, I never saw any of this books in the science fiction and fantasy sections of bookstores I frequented. Once I got older and explored more of speculative fiction I heard about the Discworld novels, but again never spotted any of this books in the wild. It was only in an independent bookstore in Seattle a few years back that I first saw his books in the shelves. Since then I've also spotted them here in Chile, coincidentally as one of the few English-language books they sell here.

I've had his series on my radar for several years now and decided to start at the beginning, The Color of Magic, particularly given that it was 1.99USD on the Kindle a few weeks ago. A cheap price on something I've been meaning to read means an instant buy. I doubt the remaining 38 books will be similarly priced, but I'm now hooked and will buy them regardless of price (though probably not all at once...).

After the jump: my review of Terry Pratchett's The Color of Magic, first in the Discworld universe.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Favorite Books of 2012

As I did last year, here are my Top 5 books for this year. I should re-emphasize that these are books I read *not* books that necessarily came out this year. If you've been following along in my blog, you know what sort of taste in books I have, but if this is your first visit here (welcome!) then this summarizes what I found cool. It's interesting to note that despite my preference for fantasy, 4/5 books here fall in the science fiction category (though in my opinion the line dividing sci-fi and fantasy is blurry).

Statistics-wise I read 25 books this year, in comparison with 32 last year. Surprisingly, that's about 6,497 pages vs 13,473 pages last year, as recorded by Goodreads (I wonder how accurately it tracks page counts, though). I read mainly in electronic form so page numbers are meaningless, but if we factor about 400 words per page then that is nearly 2.6 million words this year. Clearly I read a lot, yet I was busy this year with plenty of other tasks. There's still a few more days in the year, but that will only add a negligible number of pages to the running total. I expect I'll be just as busy next year, so my goal is a modest 20 books read throughout the year.

But enough about statistics, let's see my Top 5 Favorite Books of 2012.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Novella Review: Legion by Brandon Sanderson

Here is a quick review of Legion by Brandon Sanderson. This is another short novella and can be read in a single day. I tried to stretch it out as much as I could, but it was difficult. It was actually quite engaging, even more so than The Emperor's Soul, which I also recently finished.

The story revolves around Stephen Leeds, a unique man who has very specialized hallucinations. He relies on those hallucinations, or aspects, to solves mysteries and puzzles in a sort of detective fashion.

Read on to find out my thoughts on Legion.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Novella Review: The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson

This is the first instance I review a novella in this blog, however, I'm grouping it with book reviews. A novella, for those who don't know, is much shorter than a novel, but longer than a short story. The exact definition or word count depend on who you ask, but a novel (according to NaNoWriMo) is at least 50,000 words, so a novella may be 20-40k long.

Regardless, this is a short book and can be quickly read in a maner of days, though I took it easy while reading. Given the length, I'm formatting my review differently as well, just talking about my impression rather than the usual character-plot-setting breakdown I use.

So, to read my brief review of Brandon Sanderson's The Emperor's Soul, read on after the jump.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Book Review: The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson

In this post I review The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson, the 6th book of the Malazan Book of the Fallen. It has taken me far longer than I expected to read this book. Normally a book of this length (~800 pages) would take me 2-4 weeks to finish, not over 2 months. This is in part due to the 'heavy' nature of the book (see below) and to a bunch of travel, work, and other things I was up to these past few months.

Read on to learn what I thought of this book. As always, I try to avoid spoilers of this book though prior books in the series are considered to be fair game. Here are all the reviews thus far I've done for the Malazan series (technically, this is any blog post tagged as Malazan and so a few are not actual reviews).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hetu'u Global Network Results Published

This is a short post to let you know that the results of the Hetu'u Global Network have been officially published in Astronomy Education Review (AER)! You can see the article here.
More details after the jump.