Fox on Books

Book reviews, opinions, musings and ramblings. General bookish excitement!

Archive for the tag “Patrick Rothfuss”

The Magicians – by Lev Grossman

MagiciansI’m going to start providing summaries at the top of my reviews, for those who want the TL:DR version. Behold:

The Magicians is incredibly ambitious, odd, cynical and sometimes downright infuriating. I LOVED it.

What if Hogwarts (or a place a lot like it) was real? But what if being a magician doesn’t magically solve all your problems, or automatically furnish you with a purpose and direction in life? What if you’re still just you?

This book came to me both highly and widely recommended as an adult’s Harry Potter. People I knew from disparate parts of my life were ranting excitedly at me about how wonderful it was. WOW. Talk about great expectations. Alohomora:

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Short Stories, or, Review-Palooza!

It’s become clear that I read a lot of books. This year, I’m averaging one book every three days, across all sorts of formats, including manuscript, eBook, audio book and, of course, my true love, the paper book.

In order to keep them fresh in my mind, and to deliver opinions about them in a somewhat timely manner, I’m going to do bite-sized reviews of a recent selection.

Dear reader, dive in:

What Came Before – by Anna George

whatcamebeforeOof. This was a hard read. Following the spiral of a gradually abusive relationship, What Came Before challenges us to look at what we expect – and what we’ll accept – from those we love. Ambitious and confronting, it’s not for everyone, but is a particularly powerful novel.

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Looking for Alaska – by John Green
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John Green’s first novel has all the hallmarks of his later work. Teens who act like teens (bright, loyal, apathetic and often a wee bit pretentious), a simple narrative that allows the beauty and poignancy of his prose to shine, and a quietly wrenching third act make this a must read for older teens and fans of this brand of honest, contemporary YA. (Also, have you read The Fault in Our Stars yet? If not, what are you even doing with your life??)

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Words of Radiance – by Brandon Sanderson

wordsofradianceThe Way of Kings (Parts One and Two) and their sequel The Words of Radiance are perfect examples of high fantasy with truly epic scope and huge payoffs. If you’re a fantasy reader, you’d be foolish to go past Brandon Sanderson. He and Patrick Rothfuss are the best current fantasy writers around. I’m repeating myself and I don’t care: Brandon Sanderson is the real deal. He is astonishing, and if you haven’t read him, you’re missing out.

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Wool and Dust – both by Hugh Howey

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I’m a little late on this bandwagon but Wool and its sequel Dust are something you definitely want to experience. Howey’s exploration of a possible future after the world has been destroyed by nuclear warfare is sophisticated, claustrophobic and nail-bitingly tense. It’s the kind of sci-fi you’ll rant excitedly about in turn. I listened to these as audio books, and the SECOND I finished Wool I had to find out what happened next. four fox

Have you read any of these? I’ve covered a range of genres – what’s your pick of the above?

The Lies of Locke Lamora – by Scott Lynch

imageHello there! It’s been too long – because I’m on holidays! I’m blogging from Stratford Upon Avon right now, which seemed appropriate. For the past month I’ve been gallivanting throughout Europe, and there’s a post full of bookish goodness on the way about that. But first and foremost, a review!
The Lies of Locke Lamora was recommended to me by a bookseller in London, after we’d been chatting about The Name of the Wind and the Mistborn trilogy. It’s a debut fantasy novel that’s been getting some interesting buzz, so I was excited to try it. Here’s what I thought:
Locke Lamora has an interesting problem: he thinks too big. While this may be an admirable trait, as a thief in Camorr it’s a liability. The Gentlemen Bastards, Locke’s gang, are successful because they make sure they aren’t noticed. Little thefts, little rewards. But that’s not enough for Locke – he’s in it for the challenge, and for the win. Before long, he’s accidentally infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and attracting notice from all the wrong people.

Top Ten Characters (and Literary Figures) That I’d Name My Children After

top ten

Hosted by the awesome folks as The Broke and the Bookish, Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly meme celebrating all things book.

This week, it’s all about great characters with great names. Names that you like enough to potentially inflict on your children. These are the top ten characters/literary peeps that I’d theoretically name my kids after:

Let me preface this by saying I met a guy called Oberon the other day. Hem. And that’s not what I’m looking to inflict on my theoretical children. (Mostly…)

finalempire

I don’t think I could call my daughter Vin. But I love the name Elend for a boy. Although, again, probably not Kelsier for a boy. Also, have you read the Mistborn series yet? If you love high fantasy with strong characters, a plot that just keeps escalating when you don’t believe it can, and hands-down the best magic system I’ve ever seen – what are you waiting for?! SO GOOD.

Sabriel

I’ve always wanted to call a kid Sabriel. Or maybe Lirael? They’re just lovely names! And the fact that this is a less well-known series means not too many people would get the connection, and I’d just be really cool. Right?!

Crown2

In a series the size of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time there are going to be a fair few character names to choose from. For my part, I’d be happy with a girl called Egwene or Nynaeve, or even Moiraine (I actually love Moiraine!) But not so impressed with a boy called Rand. Or Perrin. Or even Lan – way too easy to tease people called Rand or Lan!

scent

Avry is an excellent name! For an AMAZING character. And I’d love it – for a girl or a boy. I also think Loren and Quain are awesomesauce names. But I don’t think I could inflict them on a child. Maybe Quain for a girl if I was a little mean…

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Not so much for the Katniss factor. Everybody’s gonna have a Katniss, like all these small humans running around called Hermione. But I think Gale makes a fine boy’s name.

CityofBones

I just like the name Clary – it’s actually a normal name, especially compared to the others on this list, which makes sense as City of Bones is modern urban fantasy. (Make that, kick-ass modern urban fantasy!) Also Jace. Because Jace.

P&P

Again, Austen names are classic (see, I said this list wasn’t going to be all about inflicting childhood scars!). I’d love a Jane, or an Elizabeth, or an Anne – with the ‘e’ at the end. I insist! And I’m back and forth on whether a boy called Darcy is a bit cute or a bit awful – or a bit both…

gameboard

I’m reading the (freaking awesome) Gameboard of the Gods at the moment, and the Praetorian female protagonist, Mae, is just fantastic. Also Mae is a family name, so I could totally get away with that for real! The male lead, Justin, is pretty messed up and great too…

One Day

Because Dexter is a great name for a boy. Dammit, that’s a normal and boring reason. If it helps, I’d be reluctant to do this because of the TV show Dexter. Just a little too creepy for me…

Name of the Wind

Oh, well. Not really, I guess… But I TOTALLY want a kid called Kvothe because Kvothe and The Name of the Wind are both made of awesome and I’d like to think that’d rub off on the child lucky enough to bear his name. A girl called Kvothe might just work, don’t you think??

What names would you like to inflict on give to your future kids? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters I Would Crush On If I Were Also A Fictional Character

top ten

Hosted by the awesome folks as The Broke and the Bookish, Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly meme celebrating all things book.

This week, we’re talkin’ about book boyfriends. Those swoon-worthy guys that our favourite heroines get to ride off into the sunset with. Or perhaps the jilted suitor who loses out in a YA love triangle. These are the top ten characters I’d have a huge crush on if I were also a fictional character:

(This one is REALLY hard! Ten?! I only get ten crushes? WHAT MADNESS IS THIS?!)

SoM

Because like Nemo at the Moonlight Library, I love a badass who won’t compromise who they are to be with you, and loves you fiercely for who you are too.

CityofBones

Mmm. Jace Wayland. Cassandra Clare has a gift for writing slightly broken, slightly bad boys who I just want to look after. Dammit. I also want to sneak in a mention of Will Herondale, here, from Clare’s Infernal Devices series. I’m team Will all the way.

hunger

In Suzanne Collins world I’m a Peeta girl. He looks out for those he cares about but doesn’t let that stop Katniss being her own person (and a fairly awe-inspiring one at that).

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Augustus Waters. What a freaking sweetheart. He’s smart, considerate, irreverent, funny, and unflinchingly alive. One of the best book boys out there.

Vampire Academy

Dimitri Belikov. Who wouldn’t crush on this sexy, strong, and completely kickass Russian dhampir? I’ll take two!

Name of the Wind

I’ll let Kvothe introduce himself: “I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.”  I say again: if you haven’t read The Name of the Wind, you are seriously missing out.

P&P

Because if you don’t think Fitzwilliam Darcy is one of the most crush-worthy characters of all time, then you’re wrong.

(On a related note, if you haven’t discovered the completely delightful adaptation of Pride and Prejudice called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, head on over and check it out on YouTube. Just amazing!)

One Day

Dexter is far (far) from perfect. But he tries, even after failing once again. He keeps trying for Emma’s sake. That’s my kind of crush. (And this is a gorgeous, heartbreaking, wonderful book.)

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Cadvan is prickly, close to overwhelmed with the burdens he must bear, powerful, and so essentially good that it’s very hard to see him struggling. He’s not only Maerad’s saviour, but her mentor, her best friend, and her family. His devotion is so darn crush-worthy!

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I didn’t want to double up on authors but couldn’t resist. Adrian‘s got issues, for sure. He’s also smart, brave, artistic, and incredibly loyal. I’d crush all over him.

Who are you guys crushing on? Do you like any of mine? (It’s okay if you don’t, less fictional competition for my fave fictional characters’ fictional affections can only be a good thing!) ~_^

Hit me up with your excellent TTT lists in the comments, lovelies!

Sensational Quote Sunday

Some books change your life. They change the way you see the world. They do this not only with the story as a whole, but sometimes with an idea, a beautiful phrase, or even a word, that resonates with you the way nothing has before.

Sensational Quote Sunday is my way of paying homage to those books that remind me every day why I love reading.

It’s no secret that I have mad nerd love for Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles, The Name of the Wind and the Wise Mans’s Fear. They’re fantasy at its finest, and the language is one of the most wonderful things about these books. Here’s just one example:

rothfuss

Have a fantastic reading week!

The Way of Kings (Part One) – by Brandon Sanderson

Way of KingsIt’s no secret that I love a good fantasy series – emphasis on good. I’ve amassed a small handful of favourite fantasy authors, such as Patrick Rothfuss, Garth Nix, Robert Jordan, and Brandon Sanderson. The Way of Kings is one of Sanderson’s most ambitious new series, and I sank my teeth into Part One the other day.

Welcome to Roshar. A land of highstorms: storms of such terrifying intensity that the land itself has adapted. Plants withdraw into the ground, and animals and people alike hide in strongholds in the rock until the storm’s fury has passed.

Roshar is also a world with a long history. Men tell stories of those fabled warriors known as the Knights Radiant. All that is left of them are their swords and armour, Shardblades and Shardplate. A warrior bearing such tools is close to unbeatable, and the wars nations fight to obtain them are unceasing. In the Way of Kings we meet three people of these lands who are not aware that their individual quests will soon be a part of a much greater struggle. Speak Again the Ancient Oaths And Return to Men the Shards They Once Bore:

The Alloy of Law – by Brandon Sanderson

This scant 331 page novel is the follow-up to Sanderson’s exceptional Mistborn trilogy. I was thrilled to have something else to read in this universe. Here’s what I thought of The Alloy of Law:

300 years have passed in the land of Scadriel. Vin, Elend, Kelsier, Sazed and the others are little more than figures of myth or faith, but their legacy remains. Peace and prosperity are the general order of things, and as time marches on so too does progress. In the capital, Elendel, the buildings continue to rise higher, new contraptions such as horseless carriages are appearing, electricity is being used more commonly, and the guns are ever more destructive.

There are no more Mistborn – those spoken of in legend who had mastery over all the known Allomantic metals. But some few are Twinborn: that is, they have an Allomantic ability as well as a Feruchemical one. Waxillian is one of these as well as one of the finest lawkeepers the Roughs have ever seen. On the outskirts of the cities, justice is upheld by hard men who must hold firmly in their minds the line that divides them from the criminals they hunt.

When Waxillian is called by family duty back to the city he determines to leave his lawkeeping past behind – but when a flamboyant criminal gang known as the Vanishers baffles the city’s Constables with their robberies and kidnappings, Wax and his oldest friend Wayne are inexorably drawn back into the fight. Wild, Wild West(ern):

Mistborn: The Final Empire – by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson is perhaps most widely known as the author hand picked by Robert Jordan to finish the Wheel of Time epic, after Jordan’s passing in 2007. The Wheel of Time is a beloved series and the task of bringing the story to a satisfactory conclusion is a challenge to say the least; and by all accounts, Sanderson is doing a wonderful job. Moreover, Brandon Sanderson’s own work has come very highly recommended by people who’ve discovered my love of Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles, namely The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear (seriously, READ THEM). Suffice to say that I had high expectations of Mistborn. This is how they were met:

More than a thousand years ago, the Lord Ruler saved the world from an evil known only as the Deepness. Since that time, he has ruled the Final Empire as Emperor and God. It is His benevolence that allows the millions of skaa to live – in poverty-stricken conditions as slaves to the noble houses. The nobility is even more blessed by the Lord Ruler; as descendants of His old friends, they are given the right to own skaa and live in luxury. Everyone knows that this is the way it has always been in the Final Empire, and the way it always shall be.

Everyone except Kelsier, the Survivor of the Pits of Hathsin. Two years ago, he became the first and only person to ever escape the Pits, and discovered powers that only a handful of people – nobles – have wielded before. It is with this power and the help of a few allies who are still willing to take a stand that Kelsier develops his insane plan: to overthrow the Lord Ruler and allow the oppressed skaa a chance at a life of more than slavery and death. And the Epic Has Only Just Begun:

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