Tag Archives: Books

Words of Radiance is Finally Here!

I’m so happy. Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson is finally here! 

So I got it and am trying to reread The Way of Kings, which is the first book in the Stormlight Archives, of which Words of Radiance is the second..

I like to read late at night, hoping to finish a book before I sleep, which is an epic fail on all accounts if you’re reading The Way of Kings. Number one, it is over a thousand pages long so unless you read it through the Spritz App, you won’t get your sleep that day or even the days after. Number two, just the first two chapters gets your heartbeat rate up with it’s fight scenes, so goodbye to any hopes of nodding off to sleep. Number three, even after you finish the first book, you’ll be raring to go and finish the second book and the third, and so on.

Which is where I was six month ago. I read The Way of Kings not knowing it’s just book one of a ten book series. And book two didn’t even have a permanent release date then. I felt like when I was waiting for The Two Towers and The Return of the King movies (hello, the books have been here forever, so no waiting needed for that). I felt like Peter Jackson was playing with us like a cat plays with a mouse just before he devours it. Helpless. I resented Brandon Sanderson for daring to write a book that would leave us waiting and wanting for more. I resented him for leaving me hanging and not knowing what will happen next to Kaladin Stormblessed.

But now fans have been rewarded. Book two is here, yay! Okay, goodbye world for now and I’ll just pretend to be invisible until I finish Words of Radiance.

The Best Books I’ve Read this Year

These are the books I’ve read in 2013 that I would recommend to every passing stranger (not necessarily published this year):

1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline- Suddenly, I’m Steve of Voltes V and I’m looking to get Steve Jobs’ fortune in a contest that can literally cost me my life.
2. The Passage by Justin Cronin – Eating was not necessary whilst I was reading the book. Of course, I had to read The Twelve immediately after.
3. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson – I didn’t know it was part of a ten book series and that the other books have not been written yet. I wanted to kill the author for putting his readers through the agony of waiting.
4. Symbols and Signs (Short Story) by Vladimir Nabokov – I’ve just read it three days ago and I’m still brooding about it.
5. The Goldfinch – I just finished it and even though I didn’t want to let go, it was so long that breaks were needed, you know, for eating and sleeping?
6. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender – I go round and round thinking about the twist at the end.

Picture the Effect of Climate Change by Reading These Books

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I was reading The New Yorker article about The Climate Fixers (the link is featured on a previous post) and out of the blue, the last book of the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson came to mind. Spoilers follow – I don’t know if I recall correctly, since it’s been several months since I finished that book, but a well-meaning individual tried to change their ecology when he briefly had the power to do so. Now the ashes that they’ve been living with for so long suddenly made sense. One change was made and a whole world suffered. 

 

As I was reading this long and well-researched article, my imagination was also running in overdrive. What if the Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering (SPICE) project went ahead? What if something went wrong and the experiment had catastrophic results that went way beyond what they projected? What if desertification, ocean acidification, and arctic methane emmission exploded? 

 

As with the Haiti, Katrina, and typhoon Haiyan disasters had shown us, desperation leads to a breakdown in civil society. Reports of looting, escalation of crimes, even rapes abounded. A person who has lived through this will have plenty of hate for the people whom he perceive has caused his sufferings. What if the climate disasters that we now have resulted in climate change terrorists?

 

Naderev Sano, the Philippine representative to the COP19 climate talks, broke down in tears and said he will fast until a satisfactory conclusion to the talks was reached. Japan’s response? It will reduce it’s emissions targets. Rallies were held in solidarity with Sano’s stand and people refrained from eating their lunches in sympathy. 

 

What if we graduated from just fasting to suicide bombings as the situation in direly affected countries escalate? I know this is extreme. Hey, I’m a writer, my imagination is constantly in overdrive. Here’s where we come to The Passage by Justin Cronin. I know that this is vampire material, but substitute vampire with a suitable climate material – say radioactivity evolution (picture residents transformed by their exposure to radioactivity due to storm surges damaging nuclear reactors) – and there you have it: dystopia.

 

Finally, The Road by Cormac McCarthy had blown me away when I read it a year ago. I couldn’t wrap my head around the description of the sea being gray. Now, with oceans warming and becoming more acidic, it’s possible. With the death of the coral reefs will come the death of several species of marine life dependent on them. Picture the Great Barrier Reef receding. Now of course there are waves that this reef influence, and these waves affect storms. I don’t need to ask you to picture typhoons that these storms create. Just look at the news. Of course, what affects small marine life affects the bigger predator that in turn affects the biggest predator of all – man. 

 

That’s all folks. I’ll turn my imagination now to writing my book.

My Amateur Book Review for The Magicians by Lev Grossman

This is the first time I will be writing a review of a book, so please bear with me if this turns out to be what you do not expect.

This book was included in a list I read somewhere about the 100 Best Science Fiction Books of All Time. Among that list is The Lord of the Rings, 1984, Necromancer, and the works of Isaac Asimov, Neal Stephenson, Robert Jordan, and others. You get the drift.

When I read the title, I thought to myself, “Harry Potter.” When I read it at first, there was no magical feeling of discovering a new world, just a rehashing of all the old cliches of magical worlds and mythologies. This is kind of what I felt with the books of Rick Riordan with his Percy Jackson books. This book has been heavily influenced by the work of C.S. Lewis, particularly his “Narnia” series. You can see it with the scenes of (spoiler alert) the children going inside an ordinary home furniture, a grandfather clock instead of a wardrobe, and coming out in a magical world. There’s also an Aslan reference with the ram gods Amber and Umber, and a similar four thrones for the human kings and queens. A Peter Pan similarity to Martin Chatwin is also there as well as a Hogwarts in Brakebills’.

The book hits its stride after the kids graduate from the school. I realized while I was reading this part that the previous pages were just preparation for the emotional roller coaster that the book brings out in me. Much like Quentin and the Physical Kids clique had to study magical incantations to prepare for the real world, some of the earlier scenes laid the background for what will be happening later.

Quentin, the main protagonist, has won the genetics/circumstance lotto. He has magical abilities. But much like what would happen to your worldly ambitions should you win the lottery, Quentin and his gang has everything they’ve ever wanted, and it has made them deeply unhappy. There was an earlier scene where Alice made Quentin promise not to grow up being exactly like her magical parents. People who has it all and thus bored out of their minds. They don’t have any overriding ambition to do anything else, except to have a fictional book about magic go real and the ensuing pathos resonated with me, thinking, I could be them.

The magical beings and the magical world they inhabit becomes secondary to the emotional milieu of the book. Going inside a grandfathers clock suddenly takes on a sinister turn as the reason behind why a kid would hide behind it is revealed. Going to Neitherland and on to Fillory instead of rotting away in a boring desk job may be a reflection of how we want to escape our own ennui. I could be Quentin, I realized. If The Lord of the Rings suddenly became real and I could go to middle-earth through the Neitherlands. I would be happy, but then again I could live to regret it.