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Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson

5 Stars

“Power is an illusion of perception.”

Phenomenal. The second book in Brandon Sanderson’s Magnum Opus not only lived up to the expectations of Way of Kings but also exceeded it. Honestly, is Sanderson partly digging his own grave here? Now that he has given us these two marvels, every book he writes after this will be expected to match their quality and that’s no easy feat!

“You will have to see the truth, child, before you can expand upon it. Just as a man should know the law before he breaks it.”

In Words of Radiance, we learn more about the orders of the Knights Radiants, the nature of spren, the Voidbringers, the magic system that binds Roshar and, most importantly, we are given more pieces of the massive puzzle that encompasses all of the Shardworlds’ eventual fate.

In Way of Kings, my favorite characters were Kaladin and Szeth. They still remain to be among my favorites but Adolin and Shallan have been added to that beloved list as well after reading this book.  Shallan reminded me too much of Sansa in WoK but here I got to see her strengths, her wit, her resolve and her weaknesses. Funny how her dark past made me like her more. I hate perfect damsels in fiction and she proved to be far from one. In this book, some of Szeth’s shroud of mystery were dissolved only to be replaced by another of greater and even more exciting proportions. I think I practically squealed from my seat when Nightblood made an appearance. What is Brandon Sanderson playing at here? Not that I’m complaining or anything—this twist will surely make a very interesting third book. If you’ve read Warbreaker then I’m sure you’ll be familiar of what I’m talking about.

The fight scenes in WoR were not as intense as WoK’s battle at the Tower but they were still pretty marvelous. The first half of the book was a bit slow but I didn’t mind. There were a lot of things going on and it was important for the readers to get through them carefully or they might miss some important things. All in all, this was another brilliant book for The Stormlight Archive and the moment I flipped the last page I was already aching for more. Seriously, how long do I have to wait until the third book comes out? You need to read this as soon as possible so that we can wallow in the misery of waiting together! Yes, I’m serious. And yes, you need to grab this book now if you haven’t already. If you do already have it but have yet to start it, why Stormfather, what are you waiting for?! Start flipping those pages! Epics like this aren’t made to wait!

“But the sky and the winds are mine. I claim them, as I now claim your life.”

 

 

My review for The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1)

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The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon. Too often, we forget that.”

After reading Way of Kings, it’s clear to me that Brandon Sanderson held himself back with great restraint when he did Mistborn. This book, this beginning of a grand, ambitious, luxurious and what shall become an epic fantasy series, is what happens when he lets it all go. This is how fantasy books should be like! There’s a reason why Fantasy has always been my favorite genre. Nothing can pull a reader into a totally different world the same way it does—completely and absolutely, the kind that makes you truly forget where you are and who you are— and Way of Kings most definitely did that to me.

 “A story does not live until it is imagined in someone’s mind.”

This world—this massive world of magic, depth, war, of places and people that can only ever exist in the realm of our minds—has wholly captured me. Sanderson’s magic systems, his world-building, a cosmos so rich and so vast… his stories are like the fantasy books of old. The thing I’ve always admired with Tolkien’s work is the thought and effort put behind it. His Middle Earth has its own history, its own mythology, and its own life apart from the lives of the characters that dwell in it. Sanderson’s books are the same. All of his books are connected, coexisting, intertwined, enclosed inside the same universe—bounded inside one cosmos. Different worlds, Mistborn, Elantris, Warbreaker, and now Way of Kings—each has its own story, its own rules, its own chaos, yet they are all connected by a string that only we readers know of. Sanderson gives us a small piece of the grand puzzle for every book he gives us. I truly applaud Brandon Sanderson for the grandness of the world he has created.

“The prize is not worth the costs. The means by which we achieve victory are as important as the victory itself.”

I noticed I was too overwhelmed by the grand scheme of things that I forgot to actually write about Way of Kings alone. Well all I can say is that this is one hell of a start for an epic fantasy series. It’s fantastical world is filled with colorful cultures and characters that will hook any fantasy fan. The story is told from the point of views of very, very different people with, at first, seemingly urelated lives. One by one their individual stories mesh and I’m sure more of them will collide in the following books. The characters are complex, intriguing, annoying, frustrating, yet fascinating all at the same time. I admit I have my favorites: Kaladin and Szeth. I’m looking forward as to how their stories unfold and clash in the next book. This book started off slow but not in a boring way, but in a controlled pace—a needed control for us to see more into the characters and their histories. The first half of the book was a perfect expository to the pool of action that followed. I swear I was at the edge of my seat while reading the battle at the Tower! I couldn’t sit down at all fearing for the lives of my favorite characters. The book ended in a way that made me want to run to the bookstore and grab Words of Radiance at once.

There are good stories, and then there are great stories. I strongly believe that The Stormlight Archive is one in the making, and I am in for the full ride.

 

My review for Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive #2)

Paradigm by Ceri Lowe (Paradigm #1)

3 Stars

“There’s surviving and then there’s living.”

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. First thing’s first, I’m sure many young readers will notice the eerie resemblance between the covers of Divergent and Paradigm, and I really wish they chose a different cover for this one because the two are totally different in theme and in story.

I really liked the idea behind this book. For a young adult dystopian novel, it has a very realistic and mature backbone. For a brief backstory: a devastating Storm hit the Earth around 2015 that nearly submerged everything to nonexistence. Thankfully, Paradigm Industries saw something like this would happen and built a massive underground complex made to withstand years of isolation to ensure survival. The story happens through the eyes of two characters: Alice and Carter. Alice’s story revolves around the beginning of the Storm, right after the world ended, and the new one began. Carter’s, on the other hand, happens generations later—a time wherein the new society has long been established.

“We must want to work together, to live together, to survive together. Or we all die together.”

I must admit, Paradigm hit something close to home. I live in the Philippines and I don’t know if you guys are aware but my country experiences devastating typhoons almost yearly. In fact, it was raining while I was reading this book. And here, when it rains—it pours. Some might think the Storm in the book can’t really happen, but you’re wrong. I’ve seen it happen, although perhaps not as cataclysmic as in the novel. The city I live in has been flooded to more than 10 feet high, submerging houses and buildings, more than once, and not long ago, a part of my country has been massacred by typhoon Haiyan—so yes, I am fully aware of how destructive water can be, which made it so easy for me to visualize Paradigm’s world. It was interesting that the main cause of the apocalypse in this story was the climate. It’s a relevant and more mature theme when compared to its peers. One thing I was not fully satisfied with the Storm was its origin. There wasn’t enough information given to how it came to be. Was it global warming? Was it a government experiment gone awry? I suppose, and hope, more explanation will come from the following books being that this is the first of a trilogy.

Another thing I’m disappointed with was the lack of character development. I liked Alice’s character, but Carter seemed to pale in comparison. I couldn’t connect with him at all. It greatly bothered me how weak his character was—I mean, all his life he was preparing for this one thing, then one day he meets some strangers and a girl who he hasn’t seen in fifteen years, who tell him things and he suddenly bends his beliefs just like that? I believe in the power of curiosity but it was shown from the early chapters how solid his views were. It was as if in a snap he decided to tread another path. It felt so out of character that I couldn’t find a way to root for him afterwards.

Overall, despite some of those misses, this is a promising debut novel. Readers might find some themes of the book in resonance with The Kill Order, Matched, City of Ember, and A Brave New World, but it still offers a fresh story.Will I read the next book? Yes. However, I do hope there will be more backstory and better world-building in the following installments. And I hope Carter finally finds his backbone along the way. After all, he’s the one carrying this story to its future.

Mistborn: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn #2)

3 Stars

“A man can only stumble for so long before he either falls or stands up straight.”

Reviewing this book was a struggle. I loved Mistborn—so much so that it was almost impossible for me to read Well of Ascension without any expectations. The truth is, I felt like a girl whose boyfriend has disappointed her, but does she still love him? Of course she does. That’s exactly how it was for me with this book. Let me tell you why.

“A man can only lead when others accept him as their leader, and he has only as much authority as his subjects give him. All of the brilliant ideas in the world cannot save your kingdom if no one will listen to them.”

Majority of Well of Ascension’s plot revolved around the siege of Luthadel and all the politicking that involved. In Mistborn, I was hooked in the political dance among the nobility, but for this book it kind of bored me. I felt like so much of it was stretched too thin that it almost felt repetitive. Another big problem for me was the redundant inner struggles of character, especially with Elend. So much was spent on his inner musings, on whether or not he was good enough. He questions himself, gets resolve—only to question himself again for the very same reasons several chapters later. This went on like a cycle throughout the entire book.

The conflict regarding the Kingship was interesting but it was played out too long that it became a bit boring as it went on, and to think that most of the story concerned warfare—I felt like it lacked the action that made Final Empires so enthralling. However, I must say that when the actual fight finally did happen, I couldn’t put the book down. The koloss army and Vin’s scenes were absolutely brilliant. Another nice aspect of the book was the new characters, Tyndwil and Zane. They were very intriguing, especially the latter one. I understood where Zane was coming from. In fact there were several times wherein I kind of agreed with him regarding how the others treated Mistborns, especially during Elend and Straff’s encounter.

The funny thing about this book is that the title, The Well of Ascension, actually didn’t play a huge a part in the story—not until the end at least. My favourite part of the book, aside from Vin’s battle scene at the end, was the “spy”. It was a twist that I absolutely did not expect and I totally loved it! I also liked how the author killed off some important characters during the war climax—in truth, I was saddened by those deaths (sadder than how I felt when Lupin and Tonks died in HP7). Maybe because I saw them as more human and more fragile—they grew on me since I first met them in the first book. The truth regarding the prophecies was also excellent. It was obvious that Brandon Sanderson plotted the big picture before he even began writing Final Empire. It made so much sense. Although this book didn’t please me as much as the first book did, I am still very much looking forward to Hero of Ages. Judging by the way things ended here, I’m expecting a lot more action in the next book. Crossing my fingers it won’t disappoint!

“At first glance, the key and the lock it fits may seem different. Different in shape different in function, different in design. The man who looks at them without knowledge of their true nature might think them opposites, for one is meant to open, and the other to keep closed. Yet, upon closer examination, he might see that without one, the other becomes useless. The wise man sees that both lock and key were created for the same purpose.”

Read my reviews for other books by Brandon Sanderson:
Mistborn: The Final Empire

Sneak Peek: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Expected Publication: August 14, 2014

This five-chapter sneak peek was provided by the publisher via Netgalley. Before anything else, I just need to say that I walked into this book blindly. I haven’t read anything from Stephanie Perkins before so everything was new to me, not that I minded it. I can say that she has the potential to being my new favorite Chick Lit author.

The language and writing was as light as can be, as books like this are meant to be. I think Isla personifies what most girls turn into when faced with their crush, which was pretty funny. She just completely turns to jelly when Josh is there. And Josh—he’s the mysterious artist, the aloof and brooding kind, the kind of guys that get my attention in real life. I’m truly fascinated by his character. He reminds me of my high school crushes. The sneak peek ended so quickly it kinda made me itching for more—which I suppose was the purpose of this teaser. I can say that I’m looking forward to reading the whole book!

Sweet as Cane, Salty as Tears by Ken Wheaton

3 Stars

The publisher has provided me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. First I just have to mention that the cover art intrigued me—and the title as well. It took me longer than expected to finish this book because I’ve been a bit busy with work-related things, but better late than never!

Stephen Chbosky once said “We can’t choose where we come from, but we can choose where we go from there”.  We all know we can’t choose our family and I’m sure many of us have at least once thought of how it would be like if we were born in a different one. I believe this book’s main character Katie-Lee, or Katherine, represents a lot of women and I’m sure many will be able to relate to her. Continue reading Sweet as Cane, Salty as Tears by Ken Wheaton

Requiem by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #3)

3 Stars

We wanted the freedom to love. We wanted the freedom to choose. Now we have to fight for it.

At the conclusion of a beloved trilogy, we see not an end but a beginning. It’s been a while since I’ve read this but yesterday I decided to skim it and finally resolved to write a review. I know a lot of fans were disappointed by Requiem. It wasn’t perfectly concluded, no final resolution was offered and the love triangle barely had its rightful “endgame”. I can’t blame people to be disappointed. At first, I was too, but as I absorbed the ending through time I realized this was probably how it was supposed to end. Requiem was a cliffhanger, an absolute cliffhanger, but it was one that made sense. This was a world set by rules for many generations and people were just beginning to break through. Revolution doesn’t happen overnight, and a change this big takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. At the last page of the book, many readers will be left wondering, What now? I asked myself that too, but answered myself back with “exactly”.

That is after all, the whole point. You do not know what will happen if you take down the walls; you cannot see through to the other side, don’t know whether it will bring freedom or ruin, resolution or chaos. It might be paradise or destruction. Take down the walls.

Life is all about taking risks. It’s like preparing to go off an edge blindfolded. You don’t know what will happen if you jump, but you jump anyway. This entire book, this entire story, it may be set in a dystopian world but its main core was love. The ending somehow reflected that. When you love someone, you break down your walls, you let that person in. You might get hurt, you just might be making the worst decision in your life and setting yourself up for total destruction—but you do anyway, because if you get it right, then it’ll all be worth it. After all, isn’t that what love is all about?

Take down the walls.

You don’t know what will happen if you jump, but you jump anyway.