Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson readalong week No.4

537a7-wordsofradgroupread250Today is week 4 of the Words of Radiance readalong.  If you’re not joining us for this yet you’re still not too late to join in with all the goodness and discussions.  Or, if you’ve already read or are reading I hope you’ll feel comfortable enough to just jump in with your thoughts.  Everyone welcome.  The schedule is here.  Let’s get straight to it – the usual alert about spoilers applies of course – if you don’t want to know spoilers ahead of reading this then stop right here!  Gossipspren are jumping around like beans below:

1. Sadeas and Amaram are reunited on the battlefield in chapter 29.  Clearly the two are perfectly well aware of each other’s characters – why do you think Amaram has made an appearance at this point in the story?  Any thoughts on how he will affect the politics.  Clearly Kaladin has good reason to hate him – but everybody else thinks he’s wonderful!

That little chat between Sadeas and Amaram was interesting.  After all, there was still a very small (tiny) chance that although Amaram had wronged Kaladin so badly he’d maybe done so for reasons as yet unexplained.  Or maybe he wouldn’t be as bad as I thought.  That’s no longer a possibility.  I think that Sadeas probably uses Amaram almost like a spy.  People obviously trust and respect him and seek his advice and yet he isn’t who everyone thinks. It seems that Adolin listens to his counsel.  It will be interesting to see what happens if Dalinar begins to doubt Amaram.

2. Tyn – a rather short-lived character to say the least.  Who do you think she was working for and what is their interest in finding the hidden city on the plains?  Looking at the reveal regarding Tyn how did Shallan manage to call a Shardblade to her? I was also curious during this chapter about Shallan’s absent minded drawing – she thought a character she’s sketched looked like Yalb – what did you make of this, fanciful?

I was a bit shocked by the whole scene with Tyn.  Okay, we knew a little of her character but I never for a second suspected her or her colleagues to be the ones who attacked Jasnah.  I have to ask myself first why they would want Jasnah out of the way.  Was she getting too near to revealing something?  As there’s the obvious link with the hidden city maybe they thought Jasnah had more of an idea of it’s whereabouts – although if that was the case they would surely want her alive and maybe just follow her.  It’s a bit of a mystery.  I wonder whether they’re simply thieves and want to get to the city first?  As to Shallan’s drawing – perhaps it’s wishful thinking or perhaps she has some sort of ability to see things which she translates onto her drawing?  The Shardblade was a shock – she would have to have been bonded with the blade so clearly that happened some time ago.  Had she forgotten about it.  Is it all part of her repressed memories (I’m asking more questions than I’m answering right now!)

3.  Kaladin’s dream and in particular the stormfather – what is the implication about humans and the spren, the betrayal, more to the point why the stormfather thinks Kaladin will murder Syl?  Why did he warn Kaladin whilst at the same time calling him a little traitor??

Reading the short pieces at the start of each chapter – I’m thinking that spren are little pieces of a God?  It certainly seems that belief is what makes them live and as has already been explained they seem to have a symbiotic relationship with the person they link to where both parties gain something.  Perhaps when Kaladin achieves his full status he will no longer need Syl?  Maybe she will simply wane if he no longer needs her?  It did seem that the stormfather was helping Kaladin though and giving him a warning.  I also thought it was interesting that the spren were aware of Szeth’s approach.  Firstly, how does he manage to get around so easily in the middle of a highstorm, secondly although he doesn’t have a spren as such – maybe he has a spren inside him controlling him somehow?  Basically I don’t know.

4.  Finally Szeth makes an appearance and we find out who is actually on his hit list.  Why?  Why Dalinar and not the King?  The other deaths all seem to be Kings and Highprinces.  What did you make of Szeth’s confrontation with Kaladin – not only the fight but their conversation?

That scene was fantastic. I literally couldn’t read it fast enough.  The tension and excitement.  I was so scared that Dalinar’s number was up!  Not sure why the assassination attempt wasn’t for the king though – I’m beginning to wonder about the young King.  Plus he seems to have rather quickly let Dalinar take charge and practically take over ruling, although in fairness I don’t blame him for that.  The confrontation between Szeth and Kaladin was brilliant.  It’s finally been made clear to Szeth that he’s not the only one and it clearly made him panic a little.  I can’t figure out who the ‘they’ he talks about are.  ‘They told me I was a liar!’,  ‘They named me Truthless!’  Can’t wait to find out who exactly is behind all this.

5.  Eshonai – finally succeeds in getting a message to Dalinar with a meeting set up.  How do you think that’s going to play out now she’s released the captive spren – what do you think actually happened during that sequence??

Well unless Eshonai can somehow break free I don’t see this going too well.  It appears that her body and will have been taken over because she seems to be contained within – how horrible.  Whatever this ‘new’ entity/spren/whatever wants it seems to be a different agenda than the one originally envisaged.  it could spell trouble with a Capital T.

6.  Finally Shallan reaches the plains- what was your reaction to her first meeting with Dalinar and her second meeting with Kaladin?   She’s chosen to stay with Brightlord Sebarial – what are your first instincts about Sebarial??

I can’t believe how much Shallan has changed.  She’s still nervous deep inside but she’s playing the role to perfection.  The meeting with Navani and Dalinar felt almost a little bit disappointing.  Dalinar seemed dismissive and unimpressed and Navani, well, she was shocked about Jasnah so wasn’t really herself.  Shallan’s second meeting with Kaladin was hilarious and almost electric – these two definitely have sparks between them whether they know it or not!  It was interesting to see Adolin’s reaction – like a moth to a flame – he simply can’t resist a pretty face can he.  Shallan also seemed to like him although how long his attention would stay on her remains to be seen – or remains until the next pretty faced stranger walks into the room!  Brightlord Sebarial is a curious fellow.  He’s one of those people who now he’s reached a certain age will jolly well say what he wants.  Quite refreshing.  I’m sure he’s no sucker though so it will be interesting to see the part he will play.

Other bits and bobs:

The chapter where we were shown a little more of Shallan’s history.  Her father was questioned by Jushu – Jushu asked for witnesses, lighteyed witnesses and he mentioned that there had already been one willing to speak the truth who was no longer available – could that be Shallan’s brother?

Still hanging onto my, very slim, hope that Jasnah has pulled a fast one and is still alive somewhere!

And, as you can see I think I’ve generated more questions than answers this week.

Top Ten Characters who…

Posted On 22 April 2014

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 6 responses

This week at The Broke and the Bookish the topic is ‘Top Ten Characters who x’:

  1. Make me love them: Aragorn from Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien) (first book crush)
  2. Make me hate them: Joffrey Baratheon from Game of Thrones by GRRMartin or maybe his parents – ew!
  3. I like them even though I shouldn’t: Loki – he’s not exactly the most reliable of narrators but I really enjoyed The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris.
  4. I want to be friends with: Lady Isabella Trent from A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan or Lord Ermenwyr from Kage Baker’s Anvil of the World.
  5. I would seek advice from: Wit from Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings – okay, I probably wouldn’t understand the advice but it would certainly be entertaining.
  6. I would want them to stand in my corner:  Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (he can do magic after all!)
  7. I would Least want to cross swords with:  Inigo Montoya from William Goldman’s The Princess Bride ‘you killed my father, prepare to die’.
  8. I would hate to meet in a dark alley: Lestat from Anne Rice’s Interview With A Vampire (“I’m going to give you the choice that I never had”)
  9. I would love to meet in a dark alley: Jean Tannen from the Gentlemen Bastards by Scott Lynch (ahhh, book love)
  10. I would never argue with: Jorg Ancrath from The Broken Empire series of books by Mark Lawrence (simply because I like my head where it currently sits thank you very much and he can be a bit, mmm, hasty!)

b2bf5-toptentuesday2

 

Morningside Fall by Jay Posey

Morningside was my weekend read and the follow up to last year’s Three which I really enjoyed.  If you haven’t read Three then beware of potential spoilers.

Morningside continues more or less where Three left off.  Wren is the new Governor of Morningside and with his mum and his Council struggles to make the right sort of decisions for the inhabitants.  Unfortunately, the Council are not quite as straightforward as they may seem and following a failed attack on Wren’s life Cass has to take action into her own hands.  Without wanting to give away the plot Cass and Wren end up back on the wrong side of the walls facing all sorts of life and death situations and finally coming to the realisation that petty politics and bids for authority are the least of everyone’s worries.

Without wanting to be too negative I didn’t enjoy Morningside as much as I did three which is a shame, but not totally unexpected.  Part of me thinks second book syndrome had popped up it’s ugly head.  Three was really quite unique and so anything that follows won’t have the same impact because the world is now familiar.  And, yet, I don’t think that’s the case for me with this book.  My main issue with this story lies in the fact that Wren and Cass are not really substitutes for Three – they just don’t hold the attention in quite the same way.  Three was such a good character to read about that you definitely feel his loss when reading Morningside.  Plus, to be fair to the author I did have issues with Cass in the first book and they continued to a degree in this one – which I think is more to do with me probably than anything to do with the story.  I just, for some reason, find it difficult to like Cass.  It’s a bit unwarranted and unjustified to be honest.  In the first book I found her a little bit irritating and to be frank my feelings towards her haven’t really changed.  Why, I just really can’t put my finger on it.  The other thing is the whole idea of a city being run by an eight year old.  Okay, it could happen.  However, in the world that Posey has created here with the constant walking on a knife edge fear of death at any given time type of situation – I’m really not quite sure that would cut it.  I simply think that Wren comes across too young, he’s insecure and unsure of himself although he grows in confidence as the book progresses.

On the positive side – which I realise I’ve probably come across as quite critical above  The book does find it’s feet again – it just takes a little time.  We travel back to some familiar territory – where in a number of situations – things have unfortunately deteriorated!  We also have a mystery character who seems to slowly be making his way back to Morningside and we have the slow reveal of another mmm, ‘baddie’ – both these are played in such a way that it leaves a mystery as to who is the good or bad guy in the situation.

On the whole a good read.  Yes, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first but I’m still interested in finding out how all this ends and the ending of this leaves a perfect set up for the next instalment.

I received a copy of this through the publishers courtesy of Netgalley.  The above is my own opinion.

 

 

ebooks vs paper books??

It’s an inevitable question isn’t it.  A while ago I had a kindle bought for me.  I was a little underwhelmed at the time because to be honest I prefer books.  However, that being said it’s amazing quite how easily the kindle becomes a part of your reading life, it inveigles itself and creeps up on you unexpectedly.  Let’s face it the books you buy for your kindle are more reasonably priced.  There are frequently good deals on some of your favourite books.  There are daily deals and many books are completely free, especially the classics.  If I was to list my pros and cons they would probably be:

Pros:

  1. Cheaper books
  2. No matter how many books you have on the go at any time your place is always saved – no need for bookmarks
  3. No stacks of books all over the house
  4. Easy to highlight relevant parts which is great when doing a readalong
  5. Quick to purchase – ‘one click’
  6. No postage costs or delivery time
  7. You can take a thousand books away on holiday with you and still fit clothes into your suitcase
  8. Really good for reading big chunksters

Cons:

  1. They’re not books!  Books are like trophies in a way, I love having them gathered all over the house. I don’t know why but they’re just a part of my personality and I feel like they say something about me that a kindle just doesn’t.
  2. No stacks of books all over the house!
  3. The books are cheaper but if I read a book I love I still want to own the paper version which in reality means I buy the book twice!
  4. It runs out of battery at the most inopportune times – my fault but nonetheless infuriating when it happens
  5. They’re pretty useless in terms of glossaries or maps that are usually at the front or back of the book – if you’re reading a book it’s so much easier to flip from front to back.  Which means I tend to ignore these things completely!
  6. I lose the association with the look of the book and the title and author.  Sometimes I will struggle to remember a book’s author after I’ve finished reading on the kindle – I know that sounds odd but when you’re reading a book you see the cover and name/author all the time.  It just reinforces it somehow.
  7. I can’t be nosey and look at what other people are reading when they’re using a kindle.  I know, I know.  I’m a nosey so and so, but, I just can’t help wanting to know what everyone else is reading – well, it could be the next ‘big thing’.
  8. It really is too easy to buy books this way which means you purchase on the slightest whim – there are no physical inhibitors, no scowling partners – no books taunting you from the windowsill, coffee table, bedside cabinet.

So, it appears evens doesn’t it – and yet, I still prefer the book.  I worry about all the talk surrounding the disappearance of paper books, how they’ll soon just become a thing of the past.  Let’s face it some books are never printed at all now.  What happens to all the gorgeous cover art??  Will it still be needed?

It definitely makes me a bit sad to think electronic books may be the end of paper ones.  After all, as much as I’ve grown accustomed to my kindle it’s never going to fulfill my dream of having a library is it!!

And, I wonder what authors make of ebooks.  I can’t help thinking it must be really satisfying when you receive that first copy of a book with your name on it – and yet at the same time so many books are self published now which gives some authors a chance that they wouldn’t previously have had)  Of course, there’s a whole other argument around that and the flooding of the book market with so many books that probably would never have made the cut through a publishing house.

Your thoughts??

 

 

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson – readalong week 3

537a7-wordsofradgroupread250Today is week three of a 10 week readalong of Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance arranged jointly by Dab of Darkness and Stainless Steel Droppings.   If you’re not joining in already you might want to think about it – it’s not too late!!  Alternatively, if you’ve already read this and just want to jump in with comments then that would be cool.  (The schedule is here).  This week’s questions have come to us from Susan at Dab of Darkness who you need to pay a visit to – mainly because she always has such wonderful insights!  So, without further ado:  (Oh, fyi – spoilers below, they’re like spren, if you read this they will pop up all over the place – mischievousspren!)

1) We have a new character on the scene: Zahel, a swordmaster. What do you think of his interest in Kaladin? 

It’s very curious isn’t it.  I like Zahel.  Maybe that’s because he wants to train Kaladin – and clearly he had a point as Kaladin very successfully displayed!  Although, part of me wonders if part of Kaladin’s success is his improvisation.  Anyway, I have mixed feelings – I like Zahel – but in a way it makes me sceptical because Kaladin’s first thoughts were to mistrust.  Okay, sitting on the fence here.

2) We learned a bit more about Shallan’s past. What do you think her brother Heralan was doing all those years ago, coming and going as he did, and where did his Shardblade come from? 

Again, this was very interesting.  Last week I was convinced Shallan hadn’t killed her mum, this week I’m mistrusting that initial thought.  I thought she’d probably witnessed it.  But, this week, she broke her silence to protect her dad which I wonder if she would have done that if he’d killed her mother?  Surely she’d hate him as much as her brother seems to do.  Perhaps he was protecting some sort of secret for Shallan.  I have no idea why Heralan has a Shardblade – I only hope he knows how to use it!

3) What do you think of Shallan’s recent actions with the caravans? How about her growing friendship with Tyn? And her first interaction with Kaladin? 

I was really impressed with her this week.  She took control of her situation and I think it was a learning curve for her.  It was interesting to here Pattern say that there are different truths.  Not sure what to make of Tyn yet, I like her to be honest.  Yes, she’s a bit of a con artist, but, I think the two could get along – she’s also free thinking – I loved her comment about she’d eat what she wants – damn straight!  She thinks she has Shallan sussed out and so she’s opening up in a way that she wouldn’t otherwise do.  The first meeting between Kaladin and Shallan was so funny!  It’s now got me thinking that those two would get on famously – I don’t think Adolin would take that well.

4) Kaladin took Syl’s advice and confided in Dalinar concerning Amaram. What do you think Dalinar will do with this information? 

Well, it will be good to watch this.  Knowing what he now knows, if I was Dalinar I would sit back in the shadows and watch how Amaram reacts to Kaladin when he believes nobody is watching him.  It seems to me that Amaram will either confront Kaladin or try to expose him in some bad way and Dalinar needs to keep a low profile and observe.  Clearly he can’t just out and out believe one man’s word against the other although I thought he took the revelation well – he didn’t blow up at Kaladin and become all indignant or self righteous so it feels like he’s giving Kaladin the benefit of the doubt.

5) There has been yet another attempt on the King’s life. Do you think this is another faked attempt (as Ehlokar did with the saddle girth in Book 1)? If not, who do you think is the most likely culprit? 

I can’t imagine Ehlokar making another fake attempt.  I’m a bit baffled to be honest.  Plus it’s somebody with a Shardblade – although clearly people let others use their blades so that’s not a definite pointer.  Because I dislike Sadeas so much I can’t help wondering if he’s behind it somehow – maybe pouring poison into somebody’s ear and allowing them the use of his blade.  Basically I don’t know!  And, the attempts seem too easy – like a distraction.

6) Gaz has returned to the story, after having mysteriously dropped out in Book 1. What do you think he isn’t telling Shallan? How do you think the men of Bridge 4 will react upon seeing him again? 

I don’t think the bridgemen will throw Gaz a welcome party, he was hardly nice to them after all!  Obviously he had his gambling debts but it seems to me he must have done something worse somehow.  It was curious to watch his reaction to Shallan, in one way he was admitting things almost in a resigned what difference will it make kind of way and then he just closed up.

7) Eshonai and Adolin had a brief chat on the Shattered Plains. What will come of it? How will the Parshendi ever get a messenger to Dalinar? 

I think it can be done and I really think Dalinar will want to have this conversation.  How will they get a message through?  Could one of the Parshendi who doesn’t have the armour perhaps sneak in as a parshman.  Or, maybe, they could use a spren?  ahhh – grasping at straws.

If you want more debate then here’s where to look:

Dab of Darkness    
Stainless Steel Droppings     
Over the Effing Rainbow     
Musingsonfantasia
Books Without any Pictures
Making my Mark
Coffee, Cookies and Chili Peppers

 

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