Tag Archives: magic

Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

2 Stars

Tea is a bone witch.  Feared and ostracized even in a world of magic, her power of necromancy is something that is reviled, especially when her power reveals itself when she brought her brother, Fox, back from the dead.   Her power is discovered by another Bone Witch and she is taken under her wing to learn the art of her craft, one that comes at a price.

The story is told from two viewpoints.  We get the story of Tea’s early life directly from her memories and recollections.  She takes us through her life and the changes that came with it after she was discovered to have the gift of necromancy.  We watch her grow into her power and watch the interaction between her and her mentor and also her and her brother.  The relationship between Tea and Fox is definitely worth more than 2 stars.  The second viewpoint is from a bard that is telling her story from an interview with her.  The switch between the viewpoints can be jarring at times.  You finally get into a piece of the story only to be violently taken out of it to hear about something from the other viewpoint.  It was disconcerting and disconnecting.

The world is expansive and immersive.  But it comes at a price.  It’s very easy to get lost.  There is a glossary at the end, but it makes it very cumbersome to try and remember what leader goes where and what country is what.  It doesn’t really help with some of the other things like new words.  There’s so much to learn about this new realm that it really comes at a cost to the overall story.  It’s just so easy to get lost and bogged down in the beautiful prose.

This will probably appeal greatly to a lot of fantasy readers, but this one just wasn’t my cup of tea.

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Review: The Thief’s Daughter by Jeff Wheeler

3 1/2 Stars

This is the second installment of the Kingfountain series, the sequel to The Queen’s Poisoner.  To get the most out of this book, you will want to read the series in order or much of the plot will not make any sense and you will not get a full scope of the setting and the machinations in place.

It is now nine years later and Owen Kiskaddon has grown from a shy and nearly mute hostage into a strapping young knight, one of King Severn’s most trusted advisors.  He has been living in the North, being trained by the Duke of Horwath and growing up along side his best friend and granddaughter of the Duke.  Owen and Evie have deepened their friendship into something more.  The future that Owen and Evie see for each other seems bound to be destroyed by the machinations of their King, a man who demands loyalty above all else.

A test of that loyalty comes in the most unexpected way.  A challenger has appeared to try and take the crown from King Severn.  A pretender who is claiming to be one of the King’s nephews, who were believed to have been killed if not by the King, then by his command.  This threat is taken seriously by the King, are  man who has lived under the shadow of these rumors for the entirety of his reign.  King Severn charges Evie and Ow en with securing an alliance with their neighbors, the very country that has been harboring the man who claims to be one of King Severn’s “lost nephews”.

There is also the appearance of a new poisoner, trained by Mancini, who is now the head of the Espion, the spy network.  She becomes a very pivotal character throughout this book and her loyalty is inspiring as is Owen’s struggle to be loyal to his King without betraying his own heart.  There are many twists and turns and a lot of action and intrigue packed into this book.  There is also more focus on the Fountain and the magic that comes from the Fountain.  We get to see how not only Owen uses this magic, but how it grows and manifests itself and how others use it as well.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this book and it was nice to see Owen as an adult rather than an eight year old child, scared of his own shadow.  He’s turned out to be a very strong young man.  The conflict between his heart and the loyalty he feels toward his King is an amazing struggle and you really do feel for Owen as he struggles to find the right path.  I didn’t always agree with the path that the characters did end up taking, but they were well thought out and well written.

I did get tired of the whole loyalty thing, it was the whole reason that I dropped half a star.  I understand the strong ties that are formed and wanting to be loyal to your leaders and those you admire or even fear.  But it’s harder to take when the person you are giving your loyalty to doesn’t deserve it.  Time and again, King Severn has proved himself unworthy of the loyalty that Owen, Evie and others show to him.  But time and again, they ignore their reservations and their own feelings to keep an increasingly unstable leader happy.  At this point, it’s become blind loyalty and I don’t think that does any favors to a character as strong as Owen.  We’ll see what happens in the next installment.

Again, the author is using historical context and figures to draw the world in which Owen lives.  He has re-imagined what the world would have been like had King Richard III survived the Battle of Bosworth.  The similarities are very clear for anyone who has ever looked into the history of King Richard III and the mystery of the Princes in the Tower.  A fantasy novel with real historical context, pretty cool if you ask me.

 

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Review: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

3 Stars

**If you haven’t read The Final Empire yet, there are some small spoilers**

I loved The Final Empire.  It was one of the few books that I’ve almost given 5 stars to.  So I went into this book with pretty high expectations.  I absolutely loved Vin in the last book and I was really looking forward to watching her come more into her powers now that the Lord Ruler is gone and they have a real chance at freedom and a fair government that is inclusive of everyone.  But after 1000 years of oppressive rule by the Lord Ruler, there is now chaos as everyone seems to want to grab a crown and become a leader.

Elend Venture is now King, but his throne is tentative at best.  His father, Straff Venture, has already led his army of fifty thousand to Elend’s front gates.  The Assembly that he gathered to have a voice in the new government does nothing but squabble and Vin is busy fighting off assassination attempts.  Things start to look even more bleak as another army decides to march up to their gates.  Luthadel is now under siege and it falls to Vin, Elend and the crew that Kelsier brought together to somehow weather this storm and keep their revolution alive and keep the oppression from the past from dominating again.

Vin continues to hone her Mistborn skills, experimenting with new alloys and pushing the very limits of her power.  She fights off assassins and spars with another Mistborn that seems to want to seek her out.  She’s also known as Lady Heir, she has now taken the place of Kelsier who was known as both the Survivor and the Savior to the people that his actions helped free.  She finds that she’s becoming the center of a new and budding religion which leaves her feeling uncomfortable and unsure.  Add to that to an already full plate and to a woman who is already questioning herself and her validity and ability to live up to anyone’s standard, and you have a recipe for disaster.

A new problem develops that threatens not only the new government, but seemingly the entire world.  The mists that enveloped the world at night are becoming bolder, they are also present during the day.  It is said that the mists are killing people and bringing chaos in its wake.  The mists were kept at bay by the Lord Ruler but seem to have become stronger now that his influence is gone.  There is also a shadow within the mists that haunts Vin and makes her believe that the old prophesies are once again coming to pass.

It started well for me, I was hooked once again in this world of Allomancy and Feruchemy.  Magic and power that comes from elemental metals.  The characters were the same and it takes up very close to where The Final Empire left off.  But then it got bogged down and dragged on.  Nearly every chapter we have to listen to either Vin or Elend whine.  It was depressing and annoying to watch them become whiny little Emo brats.  I wanted to smack both of them over and over again.

Being that this is the second book in a trilogy, I didn’t expect to have the loose ends tied up and I really didn’t expect an explanation for everything.  But I was surprised by the lack of explanation for a lot of things.  There were threads that didn’t go anywhere, some that disappeared and some that just didn’t make any sense.  For me, this really detracted from what was otherwise a great story.  Also, the amount of time spent on faith, belief and religion was borderline annoying.  I wasn’t sure when this went from a fantasy novel to a religious tome.

It’s still a good story with some great action and the characters are still wonderful.  I was just underwhelmed with this book.  I’m hoping that the last book in the trilogy will give answers to the nagging questions and tie everything back together in at least a somewhat neat fashion.

 

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