Words of Radiance

Time to do a bit of catching up on reviews for books.  It’s an odd thing for me, usually I try to have a review up within a day or two after I finish a book, and definitely before I finish reading the next book on my stack, but over the past couple of weeks I’ve gotten backed up.  I’ve actually finished 4 books that I haven’t written a review for (although three are very short).  Well, this book is the first of those that I’ve yet to talk about, and the rest will be posted in the coming days.

Book StatsWords of Radiance

1080 pages

Fantasy

Second book in The Stormlight Archive, sequel to The Way of Kings

Setting

This book is set in the same world as The Way of Kings, although we’re shown a few more parts of the world, both through the Interludes throughout the book as well as in watching Shallan’s travels as she goes to the Shattered Plains.  As with the first book, everything involving the setting is very richly described and well thought out, without being obtrusive and overshadowing the characters and plot.

Characters

There are a few new viewpoint characters in this book, but we’re primarily focused upon the same characters from The Way of Kings.  In particular, while the first book focused on Kaladin, this book focuses more on Shallan, and several of the chapters are flashbacks showing her backstory.  I enjoy all of the characters in the series, but I particularly liked Dalinar in this book.  More than any other character he grew in the first book, and it really shows with his resolve in this book.

Plot

This book continues where The Way of Kings left off, with Shallan and Jasnah trying to get to the Shattered Plains to warn the Highprinces there of the possible threat of the Parshmen.  We’re also shown more of Kaladin and Bridge 4 as they adjust to being bodyguards rather than menial slaves, as well as the continued war for vengeance on the Shattered Plains.

Enjoyment

I’m was vague with the plot section, because it continues from the first book, and I don’t want to accidentally spoil anything in that book for anyone who hasn’t read it yet.  I enjoyed the book, I loved the story that was set up in the first novel, and I love reading the continuation of it here.  But I did have a couple of minor issues with it.  The first is Shallan’s backstory, it was interesting to read, but I don’t think that it really answered some of the questions that I had about her past.  In some ways I think that it would have been better had we started with the most recent flashback, and then moved further back in time the way that the movie Memento does (side note, if you haven’t watched this movie, go watch it right now, yes, even before reading the rest of my post).  I say this because the most important event of her backstory (in my mind at least) took place earlier than even the first chapter about her backstory.  But we’re not shown it, so Shallan is constantly referring to an event that we never really see, I think having her flashback chapters going backward in the timeline would have worked just as well to tell her story, while doing a better job of building tension within the story and leading to a much better punch towards the end of the novel.

The other main issue that I had with the book was the last section.  Like The Way of Kings, this book is broken up into 5 larger sections, with Interludes in between.  This is going to sound very odd when talking about a book that’s 1080 pages long, but the ending felt rushed.  With tWoK the larger story was mostly wrapped up at the end of section 4, with section 5 serving as a large trailer for what was going to happen in book 2.  In this book, it felt like there was a mad rush to get everything that needed to happen in this book in place done.  I thought that a couple of important details in the last section were glossed over too quickly.  And one of ideas that (I think) will be a central point of book three was set up in about 2 or 3 paragraphs towards the end of the book.

I think that both of my quibbles with the book are things that will be forgotten once the rest of the series is complete, especially since there is such a deep world and story set up by these first two books.  I’m still in love with the characters and world, and that is more than enough to get me to buy the third book on the day it comes out, just like I have with the first two.

Overall Grade

This is a step back from the first book, but even a step back from The Way of Kings is a great book that is well worth reading, especially if you enjoy Fantasy.

8/10

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The Way of Kings

So after posting a quick update Monday about my blog’s anniversary and my bowling from last weekend, I decided it’s time to sit down and write up reviews for the books that I’d read during the 2 week hiatus that I had without posting.  I was reading during that time, as I almost always am, I just didn’t post a review of a book, and there’s a simple explanation for that.  I was reading 2 very big books, and I thought that I had already had a review up for the first book, only to find out that I was sadly mistaken in that regard.  That book of course is The Way of Kings, the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive, and it’s a doorstopper like no other.

Book StatsThe Way of Kings

1003 pages

Fantasy

First book in a 10 book series

Setting

I’m going to start with the setting for this book, because it’s one of the most unique settings in any book that I’ve read, and also one of the most well thought out settings.  I talked about the setting in the list of questions that I had for my 30-day book list (I wrote about this book for topic #19, Most Interesting Setting).  Along with the things that I mentioned in that post, I have to talk more about the depth of the world.  Re-reading this book showed me just how well thought out the history of this world is.  Through the conversations that the characters have, you learn so much of the subtle history of the world, especially the differences between the cultures.  There are huge differences in how the different cultures view warriors compared to scholars and craftsmen.  But the best part about the depth of the world is that you’re never beaten over the head with it.  The differences in the cultures of the world also lead to dozens of conflicts between the characters.  Even if the characters and the story in this book weren’t as strong as they are, the setting depth alone would make it worth reading, and that’s very hard to do with a novel this big.

Characters

The book follows 4 main characters, within 3 primary storylines.  The main character of the book is Kaladin, a young man who has become a soldier despite having trained under his father as a surgeon.  Kaladin is a very rebellious young man, who sits on the border of respecting authority while constantly chafing against those above him.  I think that every young person (especially young men) can identify strongly with Kaladin and his struggle against authority.  Dalinar is a highprince who spends the larger part of this book going through a midlife crisis because of visions that he has been seeing.  He doesn’t know what the visions are, only that they are showing him scenes from the past that he believes are relevant to the conflict that his country is engaged in as the book goes on.  While Dalinar believes in his visions, his son Adolin believes that Dalinar is going insane.  This creates an interesting conflict as Adolin is torn between upholding his father’s honor while questioning his sanity.  The fourth main character is Shallan, a young woman who is a skilled artist and aspiring scholar.  Shallan’s story is the most different of those in this book, but it was still interesting to me as it worked largely to build the depth of the world that I talked about earlier.

Plot

6 years after King Gavilar is assassinated, the war to avenge his death has stagnated.  The highprinces who have agreed to destroy those responsible have settled into a familiar rhythm of seeking wealth rather than vengeance.  But while they play games, a much larger threat looms over the world.  Yeah, that sounds generic, but I don’t really want to spoil the plot too much.

Enjoyment

There’s an awful lot going on in this book, and while I talked in very vague terms above to try and avoid spoilers, it’s all very fun to read.  Another interesting thing about this book is the structure of the novel itself.  The book is broken into 5 sections, and between each section we’re shown several Interludes, smaller stories that feature various characters throughout the world.  The most interesting of the Interlude characters is easily Szeth-son-son-Vallano, the assassin who is responsible for Gavilar’s death.  He is a Truthless from Shinovar, a slave to whoever holds his Oathstone, and at the beginning of the book at least, the most skilled warrior on the planet.  Szeth is bound to do what he is told, but he resents his actions more and more as he is forced to kill most of the monarchs around the world.  As much as he’s a minor character, Szeth alone makes this book worth reading.

Along with the quality of the story, there are also illustrations throughout the course of the book.  Many of these are Shallan’s sketches of the world around her, while others are maps of the areas in which the story takes place.  The illustrations are all wonderfully done and add another layer of depth to an already wonderful book.

Arguably the only downside to the book is that it ends with several very big cliffhangers, but since the second book is out as of two or three weeks ago, it’s really not that big of an issue.

Overall Grade

An amazingly deep world filled with realistic characters, relatable conflicts, and a strong story makes this book a wonderful beginning to a series that I’ll be looking forward to reading every time a new book comes out.

10/10

The Traitor Queen

So we once again come to the end of a trilogy, although rather than simply being the end of a trilogy, it’s the end of a trilogy that was itself a sequel to another trilogy set in the same world.  Catch all that?  I hope so, because I’m starting my review now.

Book StatsThe Traitor Queen

539 pages

Fantasy

3rd book in the Traitor Spy Trilogy

Characters

By the time you reach the sixth book set in the same world based around the same characters, you’re going to know everyone pretty well.  All of the same characters from the previous books are here, and they’re as wonderfully written as ever.

Setting

Same as the previous 5 books.

Plot

The plot of this book brings conclusions to the two main story arcs that had been running through the trilogy, the search for the rogue magician Skellin throughout the criminal underworld, and Lorkin and Dannyl’s actions in Sachaka as they observe a civil war coming to a head.

Enjoyment

Both of the stories in this book are enjoyable, but they don’t mesh together very well to me.  And now that you’ve read that, you’ve read pretty much my only complaint about the book.  The pacing was very well done, the stories were interesting, and the world is richly built and populated with very good characters.  One of the things that I’ve really come to enjoy about Canavan’s writing is how real her characters feel.  It’s easy to see that a character is worried about the war that they’re about to take part in, but at the same time she’s able to show that they have a lot of personal concerns as well.  She also does an excellent job of showing multiple sides of the situations characters are in, and it really gives a lot of depth to the world.

Overall Grade

A pleasing ending to a wonderful series set in a very deep world.  These books have definitely turned me into a fan of Canavan’s writing for the foreseeable future.

8/10

The Rogue

We now come to my first book review of the year, for the second book in a trilogy that is itself a sequel to another trilogy.  Not sure what any of that means, but either way the first book review of the year is for The Rogue by Trudi Canavan.

Book StatsThe Rogue

523 pages

Fantasy

Second book in the Traitor Spy Trilogy

Characters

As before, this book focuses on the same characters that the other books in this world have.  But this book also introduces two new novices who start up a fair amount of trouble.  Lilia and  Naki are young students who end up getting in a little more trouble than they bargained for at the beginning of the story.  As always, Canavan’s characters are well written and their actions are always very believable.

Setting

The same world as the previous books in the series, although larger parts of this book take place in the Traitor Sanctuary where Lorkin is living at the beginning of the book.

Plot

The plot of this book largely follows what happened in the first book of this trilogy, with Sonea searching for Skellin, Dannyl living in Sachaka as Ambassador and trying to research the history of magic, and Lorkin living and working with the Traitors, trying to gain their trust so they can eventually work with the guild.  There is also the subplot of Lilia and Naki, which is interesting, and I won’t spoil what goes on there for those who haven’t read the book.

Enjoyment

While there is a long going on in this book, at the same time it felt like it was really just treading water compared to the other books by Canavan that I’ve read.  Canavan’s other books came to a stronger character conclusion if not a plot conclusion.  The biggest subplot resolved in this book was also one that was introduced in this book, otherwise we’re largely in the same place we were at the beginning of the book.  Even from just reading a few of her books, I trust Canavan enough as an author to not be worried about this and I’m still greatly looking forward to the third book in this trilogy.

Overall Grade

Probably the weakest book of the 5 in this world by Canavan, but it still has solid characters and an interesting world that have me very intrigued in the final book.

6/10

The Guided Fate Paradox

So a couple of weeks ago I was browsing random websites online and I found a list of 100 forgotten games from the past year.  I don’t remember what the title of the list was, or the website, or for that matter what kind of random posts I had been clicking through to find it.  Anyway, while browsing through their list, I saw quite a few games that didn’t interest me at all, a couple that I took the time to read about, and one that had me very intrigued.GFP1

That game – which I’m sure you could have guessed from the title of this post – is called The Guided Fate Paradox.  And while it is the type of game that never had a chance to be a blockbuster mega-hit in todays video game culture, I think it’s the type of game that has an excellent chance of being a sleeper hit that a core group of fans will still be talking about and playing 10 years from now.

The premise of the game can be summed up very quickly, and this is what got me interested in the game in the first place.  A young man named Renya is given a lottery ticket at a local mall after buying food for dinner.  He spins the lottery machine at the mall and wins the grand prize – he gets to become God and guide the fates of the believers who pray to him every day.

Now that is a premise that is going to get me interested in a game, but while that’s an interesting start to a game, it’s going to take a quality game to be as interesting as the summary I gave promises, and this game delivers.

GFP2

Renya and Lilliel

Once Renya goes to heaven he meets a small cast of angels who are his companions for the rest of the game.  I love stories that turn your expectations on their heads and this game does that perfectly.  When you hear the word angel, you have a certain image that pops up in your head.  And while the angels that help you out fit the visual image, their personalities are very different from what you would expect.  In this world, angels and devils have been fighting a war that has been going on far longer than any of them could have ever imagined, and it shows in their personalities.  In many ways, this group of angels is tired of fighting the war, and very cynical about it.  Likewise, when you’re shown scenes involving the devils and their leader – named Satanael – you see that they’re in some ways just going through the motions.  Satanael especially is going through the motions, and in many of the scenes he appears in he is simply trying to find something to do to kill some time because he’s utterly bored with his existence.  While the game has you granting a series of wishes for people, there is a deep and interesting story going on that is constantly leading you in interesting new directions.  I can easily say that the overall story of this game is easily one of the best that I’ve seen in a video game in some years and one of the more interesting stories that I’ve seen in any medium for some time.

Several of the angels who assist you in the game.

Several of the angels who assist you in the game.

While the overall story is interesting, the smaller stories that unfold as you help the believers with their wishes are also some of the more interesting stories that I’ve seen in some time.  From the very first story where you meet a Cinderella who is tired of living out the same fairy tale all the time, you know you’re in for something different.  As the game continues you also meet and help a weakling zombie who wants to be able to eat brains, a mermaid who wants to stop her older sister from killing humans, and several other unique and interesting characters.  All of the characters have solid voice acting (although the voice of the weakling zombie did get annoying after a while) the character designs are all very well done.

The gameplay was really interesting to me, with your character going through a series of randomly generated dungeons with your angel assistant as you acquire new items and level up your character.  However, every time that you leave a dungeon, you reset to level one.  But the game keeps track of your total levels gained and uses this to increase your overall stats.  So you start out as a more powerful level one every time you go into the dungeon, and you also have more powerful equipment every time you go through.  The closest game I know of in terms of the actual gameplay is an old Playstation 1 game titled Azure Dreams.  If you’re a fan of that game I think you’ll love this game as much as I did.

One thing that helped this game greatly was the variety in the dungeons.  The first two just have you going from one room to the next along pathways in the dungeon.  The third one takes place underwater and you can roam anywhere on the map, but there are certain rooms that appear throughout each floor.  Other dungeons have 5×5 tiles that move around as you’re exploring each floor, meaning you can go from being 2 squares away from the item you wanted to pick up to it being halfway across the map.  The variety from one dungeon to the next helped the gameplay to feel fresh throughout the entire game, even though you’re essentially doing the same thing for the entirety of the game.

GFP3Graphically the game is decidedly old-school, with the characters being sprites rather than the fully rendered models that you see in so many games today.  While some people may not enjoy graphics like this, I think they’re in many ways better than other games.  Far too often I think game developers try to make a game look perfectly realistic as the expense of making it look good.  This game definitely has a unique visual style, and I thought it was fantastic throughout the course of the entire game.

This game is a perfect mixture of an interesting premise, an excellent story, solid gameplay, and incredible replayability.  If you’re a fan of old school Japanese RPG’s or good storytelling in general, I highly suggest this game.  As it is, I’m off to go through some of the bonus content and see if I can’t find more fun items to use.

The Ambassador’s Mission

The Ambassador’s Mission is the first book in the Traitor Spy trilogy by Trudi Canavan.  After finishing her Black Magician trilogy I was really interested in this series which is set in the same world as that series, just 20 years later.

Book StatsThe Ambassador's Mission

523 pages

Fantasy

First book in it’s series.  This series is a sequel to the Black Magician trilogy, and I would recommend reading those books first, although it’s not completely necessary to read it before these books.

Characters

All of the characters from the first trilogy have returned in this book, but there is also the addition of another major character, Lorkin, who is the son of Sonea and Akkarin.  In the first series as well as this book, I appreciate that Canavan does an excellent job of making her characters feel very real.  The heroes aren’t all paragons of virtue, nor are the villains all completely evil.  It’s interesting to see characters – some of them in very high positions in their society – who are in some ways indifferent to some of their responsibilities.  It’s not that they aren’t working on their tasks, but they think about how little they actually care about it.  I find it to be a very human reaction to many of the things that we have to do every day that we often don’t want to.

Setting

The same world as the previous series, but a larger part of this book takes place in Sachaka.

Plot

There are two main plots going on in this book, the first is that there have been many deaths among the Thieves in the city, and Cery believes that these deaths are from a rogue magician.  The second major plot of this book is that Dannyl is sent off to be the new Guild Ambassador and he takes Lorkin as his assistant.

Enjoyment

This book is definitely the start of a new trilogy, and while it does have an ending, it’s really more of an intermission before you start the next book.  I don’t mind because I already have the rest of the trilogy, but if you had to wait for the second book after reading this one it wouldn’t be a fun wait.  That said I did really enjoy this book.

I already talked about how much I like Canavan’s characters, but she also does some interesting things with the plot.  While there are the two main plots going on, there are also smaller plots for each character, and oftentimes there are both internal and external conflicts for each major character in the book.  Considering that there are 4 major viewpoint characters in this book, that’s a lot of juggling going on, but Canavan does an excellent job of keeping everything in order and moving at a steady pace.

This book also does a good job of explaining some of the smaller elements from the first book that were included to give more depth to the world.  There is definitely a lot going on in the world that Canavan has created, and I’m glad to be able to read more in the world.

Overall Grade

I really enjoyed the first trilogy, and I’m glad to be able to see more from the same characters and world.  If you liked Canavan’s other books I’m sure you’d enjoy this one as well.

8/10

The High Lord

It’s been far too long since I stayed up late into the night to finish a book, but The High Lord by Trudi Canavan kept me up till about 1:30 last night so that I could finish it before the work week started.  (I don’t have all that much time to read during the week between work and bowling.)  That said, I enjoyed the series and it’s time for the review.

Book StatsThe High Lord

526 pages

Fantasy

Third book in the Black Magician trilogy, sequel to The Magician’s Guild and The Novice.

Characters

Once again I believe that all of the characters in this book appeared in the first two books, although Akkarin plays a much larger role in this book than in the first two books.  We’re also introduced to Savara, a mage of sorts from Sachaka, who works with Ceryni for a while.  And you also see several other mages from Sachaka.

Setting

Same as the first two books.

Plot

After the events of the first two books, Sonea is still Akkarin’s novice and she is still very distrustful of him.  Early on in this book, she learns how and why he originally learned black magic, and why he still practices it.  After finding out about Akkarin’s past, Sonea decides to join his cause and work to protect the kingdom.

Enjoyment

There’s a lot going on in this book, but there are three major things that I want to comment on about this books strengths.  The first is how much bigger the world is than what Canavan applies to this story.  There are a lot of elements that are part of this novel that really take a backseat to the main story, the biggest one is Savara.  She appears early in this book and works with Cery, but when the main conflict of the book arrives, she steps to the side, showing up for a very brief moment that plays almost no part in the overall conflict resolution.  There are other elements similar to this spread throughout the book, and it shows that the world is a much larger place than this story requires, which in some ways leads me to think that Canavan might eventually write more stories in this universe (I wouldn’t mind seeing a book or series based on Cery, there’s definitely enough set up for it).  (After checking Wikipedia I found that there is another trilogy in this world, set 20 years after the end of this book, I’m definitely going to check it out.)

The second thing that Canavan does very well is to punish the main characters, whether doing something mean to the characters themselves, or making them witness something awful, or simply showing them that they aren’t nearly as powerful as they thought they were.  The final act of this book really left me wondering exactly how the characters were actually going to survive, and if there was going to be anything left for them if they did survive.

The last big thing about the book is that Canavan really shows her characters being clever.  The people in this story, both the mages as well as the normal people, are all very creative in how they use what they have at hand.

There are a few things about the book that didn’t quite work for me, but they’re small in the grand scheme of things.  For one, there was a romantic subplot that didn’t quite work for me as well as it could have, but even that wasn’t enough to take away from how much I really enjoyed this novel.

Enjoyment

A solid end to an interesting and unique Fantasy series, I’ll definitely be checking out more of Canavan’s books in the future.

8/10

The Novice

The Novice is the second book in Trudi Canavan’s Black Magician trilogy.  It continues the story of the first book with Sonea going to the Magician’s Guild to learn to use her magical powers.  On with the review.

Book StatsThe Novice

460 pages

Fantasy

Second book in the series, sequel to The Magician’s Guild

Characters

Most of the main characters in this book were in the first book as well, and they’re all executed very well.  The biggest character who was added to this book was Regin, another novice magician who spends the entirety of the book making Sonea’s life a living hell.  He was a very obnoxious, yet very well written character, and I completely hated him throughout the course of the book, which is exactly what you’re supposed to do.

Setting

Same as the first book.

Plot

This book follows Sonea as she starts her education in the Magician’s Guild, and how she struggles to fit in with all of the novices from the noble houses while at the same time hiding Akkarin’s secret of using black magic.  At the same time, Dannyl is adjusting to his new position as ambassador and using his time to retrace Akkarin’s past and to try and figure out where he learned the black magic that he uses, although he doesn’t know exactly what he’s looking for, just that he’s retracing Akkarin’s steps.

Enjoyment

There were large parts of this book that irritated me as I watched Regin mercilessly pick on Sonea, and I wondered why the teachers and other magician’s never stopped it, until Akkarin finally gives an explanation later in the book.  I won’t spoil it but this is probably the only time that I’ve ever seen an explanation for the amount of bullying that is allowed in a magical school, and it worked really well for me.  I think that the plot in this book is a little stronger than it was in the first in the series, but the primary focus of these books is definitely on the characters, and especially watching Sonea as she grows.

Overall Grade

I really enjoyed this book, and I’m excited to read the third book in the series as well as looking into anything and everything else Canavan has written.

8/10

Literary vs Genre

I’m pretty sure that I’ve talked about this idea before on my blog.  And people who read genre fiction a lot have undoubtedly heard from one circle or other that they’re reading “lesser” books, in large part because Fantasy and Science Fiction novels don’t tend to win – or even be nominated for – major book awards such as the Nobel Prize or the Booker Prize*.  Going through the list of blogs I follow I came across a post by Larry Correia, a NYT bestselling author of several different books and series, where he is talking about an article within the NYT.

Larry’s Article

There are a couple of things that he says in his article that I’m going to bring up, but the entire article is entertaining, informative, and well worth reading.  The first thing that nobody who supports literary fiction above genre fiction wants to acknowledge is that all of the “classic” novels that are lauded as the high points of literature were the popular fiction of their day.  The reason that we still read them today is that they have stood the test of time and have shown that they are still worth reading.  It’s easy to look at the fiction of the past and say that it was all being written at a higher level than today, but that’s obviously not true, we’ve just had 50 or 100 or 200 years to wade through all the crap and let the cream rise to the top.  It’s the same with genre fiction today.  There is a lot of very good genre fiction being written today, but there is also a lot that is popular today that simply won’t stand the test of time.  Anyone who has read The Wheel of Time will probably agree with my saying that it will stand the test of time, because it’s an incredibly well written story.  I’ve said the same thing about the Harry Potter series, it’s a well written children’s/teen’s series that I think we’ll still be reading 100 years from now.  Will we still be reading Twilight 100 years from now?  Probably not.  (I have nothing against the Twilight series, and have never read them – nor do I intend to.  But I’ve heard a lot of people say that the writing is not at a very high level.  That said, Stephanie Meyer has made a ton of money from the series and I don’t begrudge her that at all.)

Also, as Larry mentions, many of the classics that the writer of the NYT article mentions had Fantasy elements, including Milton’s Paradise Lost, several of Shakespeare’s works, even older works such as the Iliad and the Odyssey.  But the difference is that they’ve been around for years and no one questions their legitimacy as works of art, and not just as pulp/genre fiction.

My last comments on this discussion refers to the ideas that Correia mentions when it comes to collegiate writing and English classes.  I’ve said before that I think the reason fewer and fewer people read today is because of the way that English is taught in schools.  If you take books that were written hundreds of years ago and try to cram them down a kid’s throat you’re going to scare them away from reading.  There were people in my college classes – and not just in freshmen level courses, but also in junior and senior level courses – who couldn’t read a sentence aloud without stopping and stuttering after every third or fourth word.

To immediately dismiss an entire section of a bookstore as crap just because it contains magic or hypothetical science is elitist and pompous garbage.  If you’re in any kind of a position of authority to determine what people are going to be reading, it’s not only elitist and pompous garbage, but also dangerous.

*A quick look through the Wikipedia lists for the Pulitzer Prize, Booker Prize, and Nobel Prize for Literature showed no authors that I know of who are definitively Science Fiction or Fantasy authors.  However, The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (which won the Booker Prize in 2000) has a Science Fiction slant to it, as does The Handmaid’s Tale by Atwood (which was nominated in 1986).  In addition, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2005 and I would definitely call that book Science Fiction, it’s subtle, but the premise of the world behind the story is a deep and interesting Science Fiction idea.

**Also, I have reviews on my Total Score page for several books by Correia, Atwood, and Ishiguro.  They are all skilled writers and I would suggest any of their books that I have reviewed for anyone to read.

The Daylight War

Remember way back when I started my blog in March of 2011?  Of course you don’t because I’d imagine that almost nobody read anything on my blog on the day I started it, although I’d like to hope that a couple people have gone back and checked out my review of Peter V. Brett’s novel The Warded Man, and hopefully they checked out the review for The Desert Spear, the second book in his Demon Cycle series.  Well, a little over two and a half years later, I’m finally getting around to reading and reviewing the third book in the series, The Daylight War.  There will be a few spoilers regarding the story in my review, you’ve been warned.

Book StatsThe Daylight War

678 pages

Fantasy

Third book in the series (after The Warded Man and The Desert Spear)

Characters

It’s been a while since I read the first two books in the series, but I don’t think there were any major characters in this book who weren’t part of the first two books.  That said, this book does go back and show us Inevera’s past, showing how she came to power and in turn helped Jardir to come to power.  To this point in the series Brett has introduced a variety of characters from several different walks of life, and they’re all interesting to read about.

Setting

Same as the first two, it’s rare that you’ll find something in the third book of a series that really alters the setting of the story.

Plot

As we saw through the first two books, both Arlen and Jardir have gained the powers of the forgotten wards and used them to gain the ability to fight the corelings.  This book deals with the potential problems of both men possibly being the Deliverer of prophecy, and how there can be only one, and how at this point it’s kind of up for grabs which of the two is going to take the role.

Enjoyment

I really enjoyed the first book in the series, but had some problems with the second.  This book definitely falls in the middle of the first two for me.  My biggest problem with the second book was that it went back and retold the story from the first book simply so Brett could show how Jardir grew up.  In this book he does the same thing with Inevera, and I think it was just as pointless as going back and retreading everything in the second book.  Fortunately the backtracking is not nearly as large a part of this book as it was in the second book, and it’s also broken up into smaller sections as we advance the overall story in the present day.

Which leads us to the story of the present day.  We’re told early in the book (and possibly at the end of the last book) that more of the mind demons are going to arise come the next Waning – or New Moon depending on which culture you’re following at the time – and this gives a much better sense that the novel is driving towards a strong conclusion.  In world the Waning lasts for 3 nights, and while we’re shown parts of the fighting as this happens, Brett also blows past the last night of the Waning.  Both the people led by Arlen and those led by Jardir and beaten and battered on the first two nights, but we skip the third night entirely to finish the book.

Which also leads me to the last plot thread of the novel, the idea that there can be only one deliverer.  After the Waning battle is over, there is a showdown between Arlen and Jardir.  This was interesting, but it deserved a lot more build up than it had time to get in this book.  And the way that it ended is a little unsatisfying if you have to wait a while for the next book in the series.  (I did a very quick check online and was unable to find out when the next book is planned to be released.)  I think the book – and series as a whole – would probably end up stronger had the Waning battles been the ultimate climax of this book, and the Jardir/Arlen confrontation been given more time to shine as it’s own novel.

Overall Grade

There are some shaky elements to the way the story is being told, but as a whole I’m still interested and definitely want to read the rest of the series as it comes out.

6/10