Welcome again to another Reading Journal! ^-^ Every month I get up to a bit of book rambling; with some basic information on 4 – 5 books I’ve read this year, as well as a quick-and-simple review for each one.
Funny story about the first book of this set: I enjoyed it so much upon first reading it, last year,that I entirely forgot to write down anything about it! XD Luckily, I love re-reading great stories. ^-^
So, let’s take a look!
The Emperor’s Soul
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Published/By: 2012 / Tachyon
Thoughts: In this book we are introduced to a very unique brand of magic called Forgery. Forgers created magical stamps that can rewrite the soul of an object and change its reality. Some can even temporarily rewrite the soul of a human being, although it is considered a heinous act. Almost as bad would be attempting to steal one of the most priceless treasures of the realm… naturally, our protagonist has been caught doing both. Its a good thing the highest in the land are in desperate need of her forbidden talents.
The Emperor’s Soul is less than 200 pages long, but it uses each one to the utmost. The plot moves quickly, but you never feel lost. In fact, it’s amazing how immersive this book is for its length. The characters really do drive the story. And boy are they some great characters!
Shai is a wonderful protagonist. She’s cunning, clever, and she notices things about other people that most would miss. It seems that she sees so clearly who other people are, and how to use that to her advantage; but sometimes she doesn’t quite see herself as clearly. There’s even a bit of unreliable narrator going on there. ^-^ She’s really just complex and amazing. Gaotona is also an excellent character. And the effect these two have on one another is subtle and magical. I have to say, I found some serious feels in this book. I almost cried on the bus.
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars (Even better on the second read-through!)
The Fire Rose
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Published/By: 1995 / Baen
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Thoughts: I believe this book is actually written proto Elemental Masters. It was written about six years before ‘The Serpent’s Shadow’, which is the first in the EM series, and contains some rough ideas of the magic system which Lackey eventually settled on for the series. Although it is definitely not included in that set, it is still based on a fairy tale and has a classic historical setting… Beauty & the Beast and San Francisco, respectively. (Still the only one full book set in America!)
Rosalind is an excellent and most interesting character. I always enjoy scholarly ladies, especially feisty ones! She is logical, clever, and can maintain a cool head in a crisis. I had a bit of a harder time liking Jason. He’s not a bad character, just kind of a jerk when we first meet him. I know that’s often par for the course with this particular fairy tale; but I think I prefer a ‘Beast’ who is already reformed in character by the time ‘Beauty’ gets there. Still, it was cute watching the relationship creep up on both of them.
Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars (Well written and great fun)
The Ghost Bride
Author: Yangsze Choo
Published/By: 2013 / Harper Collins
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Thoughts: A girl is set to be married to a dead man, in order to quiet his angry spirit… So intriguing! Reading the synopsis gave me the impression that this would be something of a mystery story; but it isn’t quite that. In fact, the story goes completely opposite of where I thought it would go. That’s okay, but I must admit it was a bit disappointing. I did really love the historical/mythical aspects.
Li Lan is an interesting main character. I definitely enjoyed watching her journey towards becoming more independent and confident in her own choices. At the same time, it seemed that her growth arc got a little confused now and again. It might have been because of the completely different culture, and the need to use Li Lan to present and explain it… Still, it left me wondering a few times. I might need to read it again sometime, so that I can focus more on the story/character and less on where I want things to go. ^-^
Also, I LOVED Er Lang. His character is all-around awesome! Definitely my favorite part of the book. ^-^
Overall Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Worth the read!)
Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published/By: 2012 / Bloomsbury
Thoughts: The King is looking for a new champion. The crown Prince’s candidate? An infamous assassin…. Let the tournament begin.
A very interesting book, and classic Young Adult fare. It’s actually really nice to see a badass heroine, an assassin no less, who also loves food, clothes, and being pampered. There is no conflict in her mind about whether she can still be considered ‘strong’ and like these things. She just likes them. The rest of the characters seem to take it similarly in stride.
The love triangle wasn’t too bad. I couldn’t really get into it myself. At least it felt fairly natural in its progression though. That’s something I always appreciate! I was very interested to see an interview in the back of the book, where the author talks about how the character of Celaena, and the plot, originally came out of some cool thoughts on the story of Cinderella. I wouldn’t have guessed it… although the ball scene did make me wonder a little… but when you look back you can easily see all of the components. Maas also adds quite a lot of neat twists and intriguing mysteries of her own. I’m especially curious about Wyrds, and where all the magic went… I might just read the rest of the series some time.
One thing that did really bother me though, is this line: “Courage of the heart is very rare.” Not only is it straight out of ‘The Secret of Nimh’, but it also feels totally out of place in the scene. It seriously doesn’t fit.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5 stars (Interesting plot, and some great imagery!)