dragons · fantasy · swords · witches · wizards

Wizard’s First Rule: Terry Goodkind

I’ve started this series as a journey of sorts as there are twelve books in The Sword of Truth series.  My brother read these many years ago and declared them his favorites series; although I don’t think he’s actually finished it.  I had previously avoided the series because the book covers and illustrations did little to draw me in.  Yes that could be considered shallow of me as I’m judging a book by its cover but I’m trying to break out of that habit.  I have a seriously long commute (90-120 minutes one way) and I’ve decided to listen to this book on audio versus reading it.  This is a first for me as I’ve never done audio before.

Wizard's First Rule - The Sword of Truth Series - Terry GoodkindDay 1 – I begin Wizard’s First Rule. I’m a few chapters in and have gotten used to listening to the story versus actually reading.  I find it hard to concentrated sometimes as traffic pulls my attention away but so far I’m enjoying the experience.  I find myself getting slightly impatient with Goodkind’s writing style as I’m excited for the story and want the plot to progress.  It is in no way a compliant about the author’s writing style but rather a self observance that I’m too impatient when reading due to lack of time to actually read!  I need to slow down and enjoy the story and all of its detail (even though some is repetitive).

The characters names always intrigue me.  I used to try and write my own fantasy short stories and found developing the names the hardest part. It amuses me that the main character’s name is Richard (which is a fairly common name in the “real world”), and his brother’s Michael, and the rest of the characters have very unique names that seem more suited to a world of fantasy.  Zed has a very unique name with both middle and last starting with a Z as well! Chase and Addy are also more unique than Bill. Perhaps this coupled with a lackluster cover made me skip over this series so many times in the past.  When I pick up a book to consider reading it I always read the back cover and then one or two pages in the middle to get a sense of writing style.  It could be the names Richard and Michael bored me at the time?  No offense to all Richards and Michaels out there, they’re not boring names … just not what I expect (or have been used to) in fantasy writing … the names tend to be more abstract?

Okay so the voice of Zed has totally grown on me and I love his character!  Rachel is a sweetheart who pulls at the heart strings as she is treated so poorly. Hope it works out for her 🙂  I’m not sure how I feel about Brophy …we’ll just leave it at that.
By the way…started to watch The Legend Of The Seeker and it is so different from the book that I couldn’t bring myself to continue watching it.  It also had a certain level of cheesiness that I have a low amount of tolerance for.
I love that moment when you realize why the book has the title it does. We get there about 3/4 through this book.  Incidentally the world of wizards is better explained at that point as well.  I’m impressed with how patient Richard is with everything, seriously this group keeps too many secrets from each other.

This book definitely builds as it progresses.  The chapters on Denna of the Mord-Sith were intense.  Goodkind truly explores and tests the limits of the human mind and what it can handle.  For some reason all I can picture in my mind when I think of Mistress Constance is Virgo of Fairy Tail and her gorilla appearance.  I know … not even even close but the voice + description cause me to think her!

Fantastic start to a new series! I’m thrilled that there are so many to read!  Moving on to the second book!  5 out of 5 stars for this one!

angel · fantasy · paranormal · romance · vampire hunter

Angel’s Blood: Nalini Singh

This is the second book by Nalini Singh that I’ve had the pleasure of reading.  The first was a novella from her Psy/Changeling series called A Whisper of Sin.

angels' bloodAngel’s Blood is the first in Singh’s Guild Hunter series.  I’m relatively new to reading paranormal; my previous experience consisting mostly of the Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series.  This first book does an excellent job of creating a foundation for the rest of the series.  It explains the roles that angels, vampires and humans (some special: hunters) play.  I really enjoyed Singh’s adaptation and (small spoiler alert) how she made it that the angels create vampires in order to release toxins that their bodies develop (so that they themselves don’t get ill or turn into blood angels). 

The heroine (Elena) is a hunter and she’s not like a normal human (i.e. strength, can sense vampires, etc.).  I like how she’s a strong lead without all the vanity and extra fluff.  Kind of reminds me of Rodriquez in Avatar.  Elena is nothing like Buffy The Vampire Slayer (ack … never cared much for that show — although I did like Angel) and seems more like the heroine in Underworld.  A strong female who is focused and not easily deterred from initiative at hand, a professional.

The plot of the story was well written and there is a surprise at the end (won’t say if it’s good or bad!).  I really enjoyed how Singh was descriptive about the angel’s wings.  Really painted a nice picture and the dust element was a nice touch.  I will be reading the rest of the series (7 books and 4 novellas total).

Next on the list to read from the Guild Hunter series:

Books
Archangel’s Kiss
Archangel’s Consort
Archangel’s Blade
Archangel’s Storm
Archangel’s Legion
Archangel’s Shadow

Novellas
Must Love Hellhounds (Sounds like a dating ad! Co-authored by Charlaine Harris too?!)
Angels of Darkness
Angels’ Flight
Angels’ Dance

If you like paranormal than this is a good read.  If you don’t like alternate interpretations of what angels are than don’t read this series; you probably won’t like it.

Alliance · dragons · fantasy · Horde · mages · Theramore · World of Warcraft

Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War by Christie Golden

I absolutely love the World of Warcraft novel series that delves further into the heroes and character found in the MMPORG World of Warcraft (WOW).  I have read other works by Christie Golden which I will also review but I felt she did an excellent job with this tale.  It was almost as though I was actually playing a campaign in the game. Her descriptions of the people and places were spot on and I could see them clearly in my mind’s eye map.

I love how it touched on other characters in the campaigns but I think I read it out of order.  I should have read Thrall first as some of the storyline is better explained in that book (which I’m currently reading)!  I’ve already read Arthas which was a fantastic novel that further explained the beginning and ending of the death knight.  Jaina’s history was so closely tide to Arthas that reading that novel first made this one so much more enjoyable. Yeah for powerful female characters that actually act feminine but not helpless. 

There was mention of yet another important character in her life, an elf I think?  I know nothing of that character and I don’t know if he is/was of any importance in the grand scheme of things but I wish the author had elaborated a bit more on that thread. 

While I hate when main (and sub) characters are killed I think that it lends the story a certain level of credibility.  It’s nice to have a happy ending but I think that the stories with a bittersweet one captivate the reader so much more.

The degree of relationships between the different characters regardless of their factions, Alliance or Horde (or even neutral), created by the author exhibited enough intrigue and politics that offset the action quite nicely. I never used to care for politics in fantasy genre and maybe it was a maturity thing where all I wanted was plot progression and epic battles filled with action and excitement.  Now I find enjoyment in the forming of treaties, trade agreements, alliances, etc. Christie Golden does an excellent job of mapping it all out and making it interesting versus tedious.

And of course you can’t forget the dragons.  Dragons make my day!  The story of the Aspects in WOW and the political unrest between the different flights is extremely interesting and being able to read more about it and follow characters that span multiple novels as well as quests in the game is an enjoyable experience.  Kudos to you Christie and keep up the good work!  I’m almost done with Thrall and then I’ll be reaching for Vol’Jin, Dawn of the Aspects, and War Crimes.

asian · fantasy · griffin · samurai · steampunk

Stormdancer (The Lotus War, #1) by Jay Kristoff

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff UK coverThis is one of those reads where I wanted to try a new author in the fantasy realm and got it based on the artwork, summary, and the comments from other authors on the cover. “Steampunk Samurai” really caught my attention. This book was slow to start but that was perfectly acceptable as the author was building the characters.

Kristoff has a talent for painting vivid pictures with minimal words. The book is not overly long and the plot points don’t drag on and on. The interaction between the characters was fantastic and it is very easy to become attached to them. I felt invested in the characters well being and thoroughly enjoyed the story.

I’m a huge fan of anime but haven’t gotten the hang of reading manga without getting a pounding headache. This story read like a fantastic anime and I’m addicted! I can’t wait for the next installments!

If you are a fantasy reader this book is a MUST!! Enjoy:)