This is a combined review of the first two novels in the Arcane Ascension series, Sufficiently Advanced Magic and On the Shoulders of Titans. I DNF’d the series at that point, after reading Goodreads reviews of the third novel, The Torch that Ignites the Stars.
I read this for the nonfiction Bingo square. It was a waste of time, and I should have DNF’d it and picked up something else, but by the time I realized there was zero value in reading it, I was so far through it that I figured I may as well finish it because I didn’t really want to spend the time on another nonfiction book to fill this square.
A hilarious heist novel with an ensemble cast, The Palace Job tells the story of a…bookseller who attempts to…acquire and sell a book. Plans are created and foiled, a prophecy may or may not be involved, lots of things go wrong, some things go right, and hilarity ensues.
A pretty dark story when all is said and done, but told by an engaging, hilarious narrator that it ranges from lighthearted to funny to bittersweet, and almost never feels as depressing as it should. We’re in a land that’s lost almost all of its male population and a lot of its female population to the Goblin Wars, and horses are all but extinct. Our narrator dodged the draft to join the Takers' Guild, and he’s teamed up with an honorable knight who of course fought in the wars. And now giants are attacking. Yeah, it’s a real pleasant place.
Many reviews on the internet talk about how wonderful Cradle is. I’m going to try and convince you to give it more than the first book by talking about how much I didn’t like the first book yet still loved the entire series, and why you should suffer through the pain that is Unsouled and continue on with this gorgeous progression fantasy epic.
A stunning opening to a modern urban fantasy trilogy with deep worldbuilding, Jade City follows the saga of the No Peak clan vs the Mountain clan (haha, get it? it took me an embarrassingly long time to get it). Themes include the rise of globalism, being an outsider, the costs of showing mercy, government corruption, traditionalism, stigma and self-hatred, self-discovery, prejudice, love, different ways to show bravery, family obligations and their costs, loyalty, and so much more. It’s also about superpowered marshal artist gang leaders who ride around in fancy cars and beat people up in breathtaking action sequences.
When we hear the costs paid by royalty, by “main characters,” what about the costs paid by those that serve? In-yo is sent from the north to become empress, and she is all alone in an unfamiliar kingdom. She has to give up everything of her past life to serve her country. But this story is not about her, necessarily; it’s about servant-turned-handmaiden Rabbit, who has to sacrifice even more, all for In-yo.
You can take for granted that a Brandon Sanderson novel will have a unique, compelling magic system with the necessary depth of worldbuilding to support it, and his debut novel Elantris is no exception. From the Shaod to Aons to Seons, every bit of magic on the planet Sel is captivating, and the story of Elantris is just as compelling. The only complaint I have about the novel is its characterization of women, but even that isn’t enough to knock it down from a 5/5 rating, everything else about it is so good.
Project Hail Mary is tough to review because I think the best way to go into it is not knowing anything at all, and the less knowledge you have about the book, the more enjoyment you’ll get out of it. The protagonist wakes up on page one in a room without any memories. A computer asks him some diagnostic questions, and we go from there. Intrigued? You’ll love it.
Speaking of the story, this story is incredible. Once we’ve established our very cool characters, setting, and magic, we’re caught up in a non-stop whirlwind of political intrigue with twists and turns and then more twists and turns, followed by some surprises, then additional shocking events (I’ll have you know that I predicted exactly one of them*). The plot is seriously non-stop with no room to breathe whatsoever. I LOVED IT! However, if that doesn’t sound enjoyable, you’ll totally hate this book. Stay away from it; there’ll be nothing enjoyable about it for you. But my god, I loved it.