Monday, 29 April 2019

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson - non-spoiler review

Hi booklovers

I know it's been a while since I did a book review (over a year :-s ) but I don't always find the time to properly write down my thoughts on the books I've read. (I first write them by hand and then type them and since English isn't my native language, this can be time consuming :-s )

The book I'll be reviewing today is a book I've read twice in the last two years: 

Title: The Final Empire
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre / audience: High fantasy / adult
Format: paperback
Pages: 647
Release date: July 25th 2006
Story:
In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?

Characters:
Vin: she's a Skaa girl who knows she has powers, but at the same time doesn't know the full extent of them. Vin is one of the characters that goes through a huge character-growth, going from a shy and scared girl to a confident Allomancer. But even though she becomes more confident, she is still flawed: she doubts herself, she makes mistakes... We also get to see her in different settings - Vin the street urchin, the Allomancer and Valette the young courtier.

Kelsier: he's a flamboyant Skaa who wants to overthrow the Lord Ruler. He's also an Allomancer and Vin's mentor. From the moment we meet him, all his plans seem to be crazy. But when it comes to it, he is actually a master strategist. It was very interesting to see what drives him to do the things he does. I love how we also got his backstory. At the same time we also see how he mentors Vin and prepares her for the future he has set in motion.

Sazed: he is a very intriguing character. At first you think he is an Allomancer but he's actually a SPOILER Feruchemist. Sazed is one of my favourite characters from this trilogy. He's always so calm and always wants to help. I love how he is Vin's second mentor and how he basically plays the part of the father she never had.

Elend: he is not your typical nobleman. He doesn't enjoy all the balls and social gatherings he has to attend. He shows defiance by reading during those gatherings, which I thought was great. He also dares to question things. He wants to know more about the Skaa because he doesn't want to follow the mainstream opinion about them blindly.

The Lord Ruler: We only get a glimpse of him but from that glimpse we can tell that he is a very complex and multilayered character.
SPOILER I never realized the servant is actually the Lord Ruler himself.

Crew members:
I'm not going to go into detail about the other crew members, because there are quite a few of them. What I will say is that I love how they each have very distinct personalities. Even though they sometimes seem to be one anothers opposites, they complement each other as well. Every single one of them has a role to play and each one is a piece of the puzzle.

Plot/worldbuilding/overall rating:
I have to admit that I was really daunted by the size of this book and I was afraid that this would be a slow read. The book proved me wrong on both things. It is so well-written and the worldbuilding is so good that it actually reads fairly easy and fast. Alternating between the physical book and the audiobook also helped speed up my reading.


I did find the magic system a bit confusing at first, but once I got the hang of it, it was more comprehensible. That being said, it was also unique and intriguing. Allomancers can burn metals in their stomach and use the powers associated with the metals (there is actually a whole description of the metals and their allomantic use included in the book). 
SPOILER An Allomancer can only use one kind of metal, but a Mistborn can use all ten metals.

The story was very action-packed and fast-paced and the action scenes were so well-written that you actually felt like you were in the middle of it all.

The worldbuilding is phenomenal, the amount of details that Sanderson provides us with is unbelievable. The way he describes the cities, the Skaa plantations, the noblemen's houses, the caves, the constantly falling ash, the mists at night...

There is a budding romance in the story, but it definitely isn't the main focus of the story.

Needless to say I loved this book and I rated it 
both times I read it.

Have you read this? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now

Annelies

Friday, 26 April 2019

ABC book challenge - A (revised).

Hi booklovers

I saw this challenge on Thrice Read blog, you can take a look at it here. (I've done this post before, but never continued with the letter 'B', so I decided to start anew and revise the first one.)

For this challenge you take a look at the most memorable books you've read that start with a certain letter of the alphabet and the books with that letter that are still on your TBR.

Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

My most memorable reads - A:
- Assassin's Apprentice - Robin Hobb 
- ACOMAF and ACOWAR - Sarah J. Maas 
- Amy & Roger's Epic Detour - Morgan Matson
- Abhorsen - Garth Nix
- The Amber Spyglass - by Philip Pulman
(I've read these last two ages ago and I can scarcely remember anything from both stories. I'm probably going to reread them at one point. I also read Abhorsen in Dutch and I really want to read it in English.)

Books still on my TBR - A:

- Antrax - Terry Brooks 
- Angelfall - Susan Ee 
- Ace of Shades - Amanda Foody
- Abraham Licoln, Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahame Smith
- A Crown of Swords / A Memory of Light - Robert Jordan - Brandon Sanderson
- A Storm of Swords / A Feast for Crows / A Dance with Dragons - George R.R. Martin
- The Alloy of Law - Brandon Sanderson (I actually started reading this on Wednesday)

Do you see any of your favourites? Let me know in the comments.

Next time - the letter B.

Bye for now

Annelies

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

WWW Wednesday - April 24th

Hi booklovers

"Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!"

I found this on Nadine's blog.

The Three Ws are: 
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:
I'm still reading three books (two of which I started this morning):

I'm still reading Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell.
I'm slowly making my way through this. I'm reading this for my Transfiguration O.W.L. and I really want to finish it because that would mean that I completed all of the subjects for my career as a Librarian.

There is still 1 week left of the readathon and I'm hoping to complete two more subjects with my other current reads:

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
I've been meaning to read Mistborn Era 2 for a while now. I've heard mixed things about but I think the trick is not to compare it too much to Era 1. The characters and storyline are completely different.
This would go towards my Charms O.W.L.

Brieven van Marie by Lize Feryn
(Marie's letters)
This is a companion to the Flemish tv-series 'In Flanders Fields' and the sequel to 'Dagboek van Marie' (Marie's diary). Both these books were written by the actress who played the part of Marie in the tv-series. She wanted to explore the story more by writing texts and making beautiful drawings. This one is about her life after WWI.
I would use this for my Herbology O.W.L.

Recently finished:
The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
I finished the audiobook yesterday and I loved it. This is book two in the Wheel of Time series.
This is really classic fantasy, it's very elaborate in its worldbuilding and character development, but it's wonderful. But I've still got quite a few books to go since this is a 14 books series.
This was for my History of Magic O.W.L.
 The Probability of Violet & Luke by Jessica Sorensen
Last week I said that I found the first book about Violet & Luke to have a bit too much angst and that I feared this one might suffer from the same problem. I thought this one to was a bit better. The angsty parts weren't dragged out as much as in the previous book. I started the next book about Violet & Luke, but I put it back down because I couldn't focus on it.
What's next?
Since I've only just started two new books, I don't think I'll be able to read anything else before the end of the month.

Have you read any of these books or are you planning to read any of them? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now

Annelies

Monday, 22 April 2019

Beat the Backlist - reading challenge (April) check-in.

Hi booklovers

At the beginning of the year I committed myself to reading 24 books that were published before 2019.

Since it's already April, I thought it was time for a check-in.

It was actually going pretty well so I decided to up the amount of books I want to read from 24 to 30 (and I'm still 10 books ahead of schedule). Funny thing is my total GR goal for this year is 30. I'm not going to up that amount.

Out of the books I put on my Beat the Backlist TBR, let's see how many I've actually read:


*The Blade Itself - Joe Abercrombie
*The Hazelwood - Melissa Albert
*The Cruel Prince - Holly Black
*Three Dark Crowns - Kendare Blake
*The Painted Man - Peter V. Brett
*The Furies of Calderon - Jim Butcher
*The Red Knight - Miles Cameron
*Priestess of the White - Trudi Canavan
*Spellwright - Blake Charlton
*The Last Namsara - Kristen Ciccarelli
*Spellslinger - Sebastien de Castell (I'm currently reading this one)
*Knight's Shadow - Sebastien de Castell
*Even the Darkest Star - Heather Fawcett
*Malice - John Gwynne
*The Mad Ship - Robin Hobb
*King of Thorns - Mark Lawrence
*Clariel - Garth Nix
*The Colour of Magic - Terry Pratchett
*The Alloy of Law - Brandon Sanderson
*Warbreaker - Brandon Sanderson
*The Way of Kings (pt 1) - Brandon Sanderson
*The Crown Tower - Michael J. Sullivan
*The Way of Shadows - Brent Weeks

Which backlist books have I read instead? These are in reading order.

*Alphas Like Us - Krista & Becca Ritchie
*Unravel Me - Tahereh Mafi
*Days of Blood and Starlight - Laini Taylor
*Saga volume 9 - Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
*The Mad Ship - Robin Hobb
*Fracture Me - Tahereh Mafi
*Sleeping Giants - Sylvain Neuvel
*Waking Gods - Sylvain Neuvel
*The Redemption of Callie and Kayden - Jessica Sorensen
*Dreams of Gods and Monsters - Laini Taylor
*Girls: conception - The Luna Brothers
*Gils: emergence - The Luna Brothers
*Ignite Me - Tahereh Mafi
*Only Human - Sylvain Neuvel
*Restore Me - Tahereh Mafi
*The Destiny of Violet & Luke - Jessica Sorensen
*Paper Girls - Brian K. Vaughan
*The Great Hunt - Wendy Higgins

Have I lowered my physical TBR? Nope, simply because I've been buying books, reading e-books, rereading books and listening to audiobooks :-s

I'm going to continue focusing on reading backlist books from my physical TBR. At the same time there are some series I want to continue, but I still need to get the next book(s).

I'll be checking in with this challenge again in July.

Have you been able to reduce your (physical) TBR yet this year?

Are there any books on my TBR you think I should get to first? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now

Annelies

Friday, 19 April 2019

Book hauls revisited Jan - March '18

Hi booklovers

Last year I started taking a look at my book hauls from the previous years to see how many of those books I've read since then.
For some reason I stopped doing them in July last year, so I'm picking it back up for my 2018 hauls.

January
*The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

February
*Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes
*The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
*Angelfall by Susan Ee

March
*Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
*Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
*The Way of Kings pt 1 by Brandon Sanderson
*The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
*Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
*State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury

Out of the 11 books I bought and the 1 book I was gifted (Angelfall) I managed to read 6:
*Immortal Reign
*Unravel Me
*Unite Me
*Ignite Me
*Etched in Bone
*Ready Player One

Which of the unread books should I get to first? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now

Annelies

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Book Haul Dec. '18 - Jan. - March '19.

Hi booklovers

Let's take a look at the books I bought during the last couple of months.

At the very end of December I went bookshopping with a friend and we went to Waterstones Brussels and Sterling Books.


Here are the books that I got there:


Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft
In January I bought only one book: Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody. I bought this secondhand from someone I follow on IG.
I didn't buy any books in February, but I did buy some in March:

Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (which I've already read.)
The His Dark Materials box set by Philip Pullman. (Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass) I've read these about 15 years ago for my dissertation, but the copies I had didn't match. Plus, I also found out that the first one was the American edition, which is apparently censored. So I wanted to get the matching UK editions and I have to say, they look stunning.


Which books did you get over the last couple of months? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now

Annelies

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

WWW Wednesday - April 17th

Hi booklovers

Today I thought I'd try something new :-)

"Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!"

I found this on Nadine's blog.

The Three Ws are: 
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:
I'm actually reading three books at the moment.

Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell
I just started this one today and I'm reading it for my Transfiguration O.W.L.: book with a red cover or sprayed edges. This one actually has both.
I'm only 28 pages in so I can't really say all that much about it. I've read the first book in de Castells Greytcoats series and I loved that, so I'm curious about this one. I've heard some mixed things about it.

This is the fourth book in the Coincidence series. Even though I mostly read fantasy books I'm sometimes in the mood for some (contemporary) NA (especially when I'm on a school holiday, because I tend to read past my bedtime when reading NA :-D ).
I usually like my NA to be of the angsty kind. However, I found the first two books in this series (about Callie and Kayden) to have just the right amount of angst, but book three (the first one about Violet & Luke) to be a bit too angsty. I'm curious to see where this one will go.

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
I'm listening to the audiobook of this one for my History of Magic O.W.L.: a book that was published 10 or more years ago.
I have about 10 hours left of the audiobook and I'm enjoying it very much. This is actually my second time listening to this book. I have a long history with this huge series. I started reading it about ten years ago but I didn't read the entire series back then. Three years ago I discovered audiobooks and I started listening to this series, but I never got past book 4. This year I really want to get further into the series, so I decided to relisten to the first books and then continue and finally finish this 14-books series.
Recently finished:
Shadow Me by Tahereh Mafi
This is book #4.5 in the Shatter Me series and it's the third novella in this series. I recently reread the original trilogy so I could finally read Restore Me and this one.
I really enjoyed seeing the events through Kenji's POV. We really got to see a different side of him and we got some backstory for him. I'm definitely picking up Defy Me.
I read this for my Potions O.W.L.: a sequel.
The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins
This one is completely different from the book by Robert Jordan. This is actually a retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale “The Singing Bone”, which I actually don't know anything about.
This was a bit predictable at times (even though my guess for the ending was not correct) and it definitely has a couple of typical YA tropes.
I liked the interpretation of magic and I'll probably pick up the conclusion to the duology even though I'm a bit scared that it will be too focused on the romance.
(This is the review I wrote on Goodreads and when I first finished it, I went online to see if I could get the sequel. But now that a couple of days have passed, I'm feeling less inclined to get the sequel. We'll see how I feel about it in a couple of weeks/months.)
I read this for my Ancient Runes O.W.L.: a retelling.
 
What's next?
I am very much a mood reader, so predicting what my next read is going to be isn't easy for me. Since I'm still taking part in the O.W.L.s magical readathon for the rest of the month I'll probably read books that fit some of the prompts.
Maybe I'll go for
Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb
This is the third book in the Liveship Trades trilogy and I really want to know how the story ends. I love Hobbs writing and even though I'm a non-native English reader I have no trouble getting through these easily (I alternate between reading the physical book and listening to the audiobook).

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
This is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses. Theirs is a world in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren's capital city. A world transformed by a power based on an essence known as breath. Using magic is arduous as breath can only be collected one unit at a time.


So far, I've really enjoyed all the books I've read by Sanderson and I've heard this one is a lot of fun.

Both these books could go towards the Charms O.W.L.: age line: read an adult work.

The problem with these are that they are both chunky books and thus not ideal for readathons.

So I might pick up this one instead
Brieven van Marie (Letters from Marie) by Lize Feryn
This is in Dutch and it's a companion book to the Flemish tv-series called In Flanders Fields about World War I. The first book was Maries diary and this is a collection of letters Marie writes after the war has ended.
This one could go towards the Herbology O.W.L.: plant on the cover.

Have you read any of these books or are you planning to read any of them? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now

Annelies


Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Anticipated releases April - June 2019.

Hi booklovers

Just like at the beginning of the year I'm going to take a look at the books I'm looking forward to in the months of April, May and June.

April
*2nd: Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi
I read Restore Me(#4) and Shadow Me(#4.5) for the O.W.L.s magical readathon and I'm curious to see how the story will continue.

May
*1st: One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence
This premise sounds really intriguing.

*7th: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I already know that these two write awesome space stories. Hopefully this one will be up there with the Illuminae Files.

*9th: Finale by Stephanie Garber
Very excited to see how the story ends. I might do a reread of the first two before reading this one. I'm going to preorder the hardcover edition so it has the secret cover like the other two.

June
*11th: Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I remember really enjoying The Dark Elements trilogy by Armentrout. This is apparently a spin-off series so I'm going to give the first book a go.

Are any of these books on your anticipated releases lists as well or are there other books you are excited about? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now

Annelies