Sunday, February 28, 2010

'First Lord's Fury" brought to you by the Hallmark Channel...

The other day I finished reading a book that went by the name of ‘First Lord’s Fury’. No, this book didn’t have any religious connotations, and yes, this is another book review (well, more of a just my opinion and own rantings), so deal with it. All and all, I can sum up the book with one word: Meh. Yea, that’s right. Meh. And here`s why.
Let me start off by saying that a lot of endings to book series I`ve read don’t really stand up to what I expect the grand finale of a series to be. They seem to fizzle out with they ‘live happily ever after and the bad guys dead.’ Kind of like a wet balloon that suddenly goes limp from lack of air after the sudden gusto that it had for life. Granted these endings have great moments, but they don’t quite do it for me.
I want to have an explosive ending. Like when someone takes a pin to a fully inflated balloon. I don’t necessarily expect or want the ending of a series to be glazed over with happy feelings like a funnel cake. I don’t mind a little Happily Ever after, but I want them to pay for it. So I guess what I`m trying to get at is that I what a little bit more mayhem and tragedy in my endings. If the main character gets hitched at the end, I want him to be missing a leg or Hilary Clinton to be the Mother in Law. If they win the day, whole cities will have to have been laid waste to do so. I don’t mind the good guys winning. I just want them to have something bad happen to them so they learn something by the end.
To me First Lords Fury had some good qualities. It had pretty good pacing. Through the whole book there was a sense of being constantly being pushed back, to struggle to survive against a vast horde of enemies, and making shady deals with other enemies to help the cause against the enemy of all. But when the end came, and when everything was beginning to wrap up, the sugar coating started to appear. All the main characters survived. ‘Tis a shame I say, but what are you going to do? The last epic fight was just that until the last note, when it wasn’t. There was no limbs lost, no emotional turmoil they had to deal with for years. It was just done. All wrapped up in a neat little package.
That said, there were a few characters I really liked and connected with. Overall, the characters from the series seemed really human, and popped out. The series as a whole was pretty average with some great parts. I just thought the ending was kind of underwhelming. I’ll probably end up recommend the series to friends, ‘cause it was decent at the core. Now to find another series to take up my time.

Monday, February 15, 2010

We rode on the winds of the rising storm. We ran to the sounds of the thunder. We danced among the lightning bolts and tore the world asunder. - Crossroads of Twilight

I’ve been a fan of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan for a little over a decade now. For most of that time, I’ve been a disgruntled acolyte of the vast and rich world that Jordan had created. By the time I picked up the first volume, The Eye of the World, half of the current 14 books had already been published.
I’m going to say the first 5 or so books are the best written of the series by far. Jordan gives us a world full of scope and history, with characters that you come to love and hate, and doing it all that very descriptive way that only can do. Then from about book 6 on is when the Train wreck happens.
At this point, it just seems like the story as whole just gets away from him. He throws in so many plots and subplots, that it just becomes a convoluted mess that takes books to sort out. Plus there’s the fact that major characters don’t even bother to show up in some of the books. At one point, I just kept on reading just because I wanted to see it through to the end of the series.
When I first heard the news that Robert Jordan passed away a couple years ago, I admit I was kind of angry, frustrated, and disappointed that he wasn’t able to finish the series. I know that was a little self centered at the time, but I got over it. Especially when I heard that he took some really detailed notes right before he died so that someone could finish were he left off. Enter Brandon Sanderson.
I’ve never have read any of Sanderson’s books, but from what I’ve heard, he’s pretty competent at what he does. And being a fellow Utahn, I guess I could support him. Sunday I finished the latest Wheel of Time book that came out last October, The Gathering Storm. It’s the first of three that Brandon Sanderson helped put together and that will wrap up the series. And I’ve got to admit, I really enjoyed it.
It still had the Robert Jordan feel and vibe to it, with a little Sanderson flair. I’m liking it because it didn’t have the sense of being bloated like the last few have been, but it had a sense of finality to it. Things are starting to wrap up. Plus, it just seemed to flow better as well.
If you were one of those people that became disillusioned with the whole thing, I implore you to at least read The Gathering Storm. It’s made me a believer again.