Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Will Power

Much like the previous book in the Hawthorne Saga, Act of Will, Will Power is a light and fun read. It continues to follow the adventures of William Hawthorne. By the time you pick up this second book you've decided you like Will otherwise you probably wouldn't have grabbed this book. Will is an unusual and reluctant hero - more reluctant that most reluctant hero's really. However, he is also oddly brave for someone who claims to only be interested in keeping himself alive.

This episode of the saga has Will and his adventuring friends entering a different nation filled with bear riding Goblins that are at war with a majestic and beautiful city full of majestic and beautiful people. Almost immediately Will and his friends get split up so that Orgros and Mithos, the two main warriors of the party are lost, and Garnet and the Party leader are also missing which just leaves Will and Renthrette to navigate the war and to figure out a way to survive and return home to Stavis.

Nothing about the book is particularly suprising as you read it but Heartley spins a fun tale and Will manages to do some amazing things in spite of himself. If you're looking for a quick and fun fantasy novel or series then this book, and the Will Hawthorne Series should be right up your alley.

I actually liked this book a little better than the previous even though there are some scnees where I think Will's friends are unreasonably hard on him that annoyed me. I give this book a 3.5 out of 5 rating.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Act of Will

Act of Will is a fun book. Will is as unlikely of a hero as you'll find in the fantasy genre. The book starts with him hoping to become a full actor in his company because it is his eighteenth birthday but things quickly fall apart for Will and he finds himself on the run and in the company of some true adventurers.

Will has a lot to learn on the road not only about adventuring but about the world, women, and himself.

Honestly there is nothing particularly unique or original in the overall story or the tropes used however it's still enjoyable. Will is an oddly likable character and his companions are all sort of interesting though A.J. Hartley could have developed them all quite a bit more.

If you're looking for an enjoyable and light read then this is a great book to go with.  I give it a 3/5 rating.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Stonewielder: A Novel of the Malazan Empire

I have enjoyed all of my forays into the world of Malazan and this trip, with Stoneweilder, is no different. Sure, the timespan being covered is much smaller than in some books and some of the main characters are new to me, but I still felt comfortable delving into the isles of Fist and learning about the battle with "The Lady" and the eternal battle with the Riders along the storm wall.

I don't really have a favorite author between Esslemont and Erikson but I do like when either of them touches about the Crimson Guard and Esslemont seems more likely to do so and this book carried on that tradition. Sadly, however, there wasn't enough Crimson Guard action in the book for me - though you do get a very graphic idea of just how bad-ass Iron Bars is. Let's just say it is gripping.

A few characters we have been previously introduced are key protagonists in this book as well but some of the story lines aren't resolved at all by the time the book ends so it felt weird following them for so much of the book only to discover they didn't really tie into the main story arch of the novel at all. Also, because of the way Malazan books are written you may already know the end to at least one arc before you read this book.

My only other gripe about the book is that it seems to change perspective too often. In fact had he just left one of the unresolved story arches out of the book I feel like the entire thing would have been cleaner and more focused.

Regardless of my issues with changing point of view the book was a fun read and I recommend it to anyone that enjoys the genre.

The Grim Company

In my "in progress" review of The Grim Company that I wrote on Goodreads I said:

"It's pretty fast paced and has some fun and interesting characters; though I honestly have trouble caring about one of the main characters; he's too shallow to be believable.

I like the magic system and am curious about the history of the world that the magelords don't want to think about."

My opinion really didn't change as I finished the book.  The style of the book is very similar to an Abercrombie tale; fun, violent, fast paced, and containing a tough grizzled veteran.  In fact one of the primary characters reminds me quite a bit of Logan Ninefingers from Abercrombie's works - except this guy has all of his fingers.

This was one of the fastest reading books I've picked up in a while.  The language is all pretty concise and it was satisfying to hit such major plot points all within one novel as opposed to the trend of most modern fantasy to wind out of control into seven or eight volumes.   In fact, so much happens in this book I imagine the next two in the trilogy will be incredibly exciting.  I look forward to more of Scull's work.