[BOOKS] Read Read Read

I don’t remember when my last update around books I’ve been reading was but I’ve been spending a lot of time reading. It seems to have replaced some of my late night evenings playing games and I found myself sometimes going to bed at two in the morning because I was getting to a really good part.

I’ve read over the Orson Scott Card Ender Quintet, completing Ender’s Game, Speaker For the Dead, Xenocide and Children of the Mind but haven’t gone into any of the other stories around that. I found as the series went on, it was somewhat less enjoyable and started to get a little too philosophical and less about some of the sci-fi elements I loved in Ender’s Game. Still, a decent read if you have the patience for internalized debates around morals, ethics or existence.

I debated where to go after reading that and decided I was in the mood for something with a little more humor so I picked up the one book I was missing from the Richard Castle Nikki Heat series – Heat Wave. I had previously received the other two books for Christmas but TheWife could not find this one in print.

Yes, I know it’s not really Nathan Fillion writing these books and they’re literary works of art but they were enjoyable and humorous. A nice change from some of the later parts of the series I had just completed. I consumed the book quickly, really enjoying it and laughing at  several parts. I think these books are strengthened by the TV series (Castle) because I was easily able to imagine the scenarios, replacing the in book names with the in show names – really credit to the author, the show writers and the actors in the show.

Once that was complete I decided to keep away from the fantasy genre and started reading through Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games Trilogy. While I did enjoy the story and I did have a few annoyances. First issue was in the first book where I found the author did not separate tenses or points of view well enough. For a portion of the story it was first person and would shift, awkwardly out of that and into more of a third person. It was really sort of jarring and something my brother-in-law has been struggling with.

The other annoyance was that it was clearly aimed more at young women than other audiences. The main character was a drama-magnet and seemed to dwell on too many things at one time. Something I can’t associate with well as a grown adult male with a wife and children. The drama around her world seemed something a young teenage girl would be experiencing and so better able to understand the main character at a better level than I ever could.

Finally, I found the last book a little rushed to conclusion and without some of the depth the second and first one had. The main character also seemed to have a mental breakdown (understandable) which wasn’t all that exciting or interesting to read though. Again, related to my previously listed annoyance – I can only take so much “woe is me!” from the main character of a story I’m reading.

I think of the three books, the middle one (Mockingjay) was the better written but relied on the other two to start and finish the whole story.

I recently watched the move with TheWife – she enjoyed it but I found it missing a lot and somewhat rushed. I suppose in some areas it was fortunate, but overall it made a lot of what was happening seem too sudden. Example? (Spoiler) A big part of the first book is Katniss playing up to the ‘star crossed lovers’ thing with Peeta only you got a sense that near the end of the Hunger Games she had some feelings for Peeta and felt guilty because of her not-quite-boyfriend at home. This wasn’t played up as much in the movie and the movie made it seem more like it was just a ploy. Another thing that was missing was the hardness of Peeta who finishes off one of the first ‘careers’ kills.

Next series I picked up was Brandon Sanderson’s The Mistborn Trilogy, which is a step back into fantasy though not the typical wizards, orks and dragons. I’m about 80% through it (according to Kobo) and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I find the characters likable and well done. The story is interesting and has kept me guessing. It’s not as predictable as I thought and I’m not overly easy to fool in books (or other places for that matter).

The era seems to be a short bit before the gunpowder age or the Renaissance era without gunpowder or advancement in art. One race of humanity oppresses another and one empire rules the world with its Emperor claiming divinity which might be the case because he’s been around for a thousand years. “Magic” is not your typical fantasy magic, instead it is the innate ability of people to ‘burn’ metals inside them to produce effects. The type of metal denotes the ability; pewter strengthens the body, heals it quickly, enhances grace and other physical attributes. Tin enhances the senses; touch, sight, hearing, and smell. There is more but I don’t want to spoil it. This sort of ‘magic’ is called Allomancy.

There are two types of Allomancers; Mistlings who can only burn one type of metal and Mistborn who can burn all types of metal. You’re either one or the the other or have no ability to burn metals at all.

I won’t go on much more about the series other than to highly recommend it.

If Brandon Sanderson is a familiar name to you but you can’t quite place it, then you’ve likely heard his name as the guy who will be finishing of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. After what I’ve read of The Mistborn Trilogy it was definitely a good choice.

I’ll have to go looking for another series to read soon, though even at 80% there still seems to be a lot left for the series!

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