Book Review- Mistborn: Secret History by Brandon Sanderson

Hellooooo Blogland!

Sorry for the delay. I’ve been doing a TON of edits on The Steel Armada, and fully expect to be done with it before the week is out.

Let me just say that one more time.Keepin it classy

I am going to be done with the second draft of my novel sometime this week…

WHAAAAAAT?

Ahem.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to. For those of you who follow me on Goodreads, you’ll even see that my reading has slowed considerably, although I think I should be done with House of Many Ways by Wednesday.

So, let’s talk about this thing! This thing being Brandon Sanderson’s newest novella, Mistborn: Secret History.

Let me start now by saying that, if you haven’t read the original Mistborn trilogy, DO NOT read this review. Pretty much, this novella can not exist without the original trilogy, and honestly, would make a ton of sense without the Wayne and Wax books. If you’re not caught up, turn back now!

Last chance…

Ok! Here we go!Secret-History-cover

So, this novella, which was actually quite long, follows Kelsier after his death at the hands of the Lord Ruler.

Yup. You read that right.

This book is weird. It doesn’t follow Sanderson’s typical storytelling methods, and it reads a bit rough.

Kelsier basically talks his way out of passing into the true afterlife, and gets stuck in limbo. From there he’s able to witness the events of the original trilogy, and even has a very important role in the outcome.

To be honest, I’m not going to be able to rehash this tale in my usual detail. It’s too convoluted and complex. I’m still not entirely sure of everything that happened, so you’re going to have to read it yourself.

Some things I want to mention:

Despite my undying love for all things Mistborn, especially Kelsier, I’m still not sure how I feel about this story. There were a lot of moments where I wasn’t sold on the writing. A first for me when it comes to Sanderson. I think that’s directly linked to the lack of worldbuilding in this novella. In limbo, everything is just mist, occasionally taking on the reverse forms of the real world. Also, Kell is alone for most of the story. He’s a fantastic character, and by the end I remembered why I love him so much, and was so glad to have his continued story, but a novella of mostly monologue was…

Slow.

That being said, there’s a ton of Cosmere references in this story. As a reminder, the Cosmere is the universe that all of Sanderson’s major works take place in. There’s a larger plot concerning the Cosmere as a whole, but it’s not remotely clear yet, and won’t be until all the worlds and books are explored. I was dying to understand what was happening, and I know there were some heavy drops sprinkled in. I just don’t know enough to recognize them yet.

And, I do think my distance from the original trilogy made reading this story more difficult. I didn’t remember a lot of the more subtle moments, or the less momentous. Even though I’ve read them three times, I never can quite remember all the minutia.

Anyway, the story follows Kelsier post-death as he follows the events of the trilogy. So you’re seeing the events of Mistborn: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages from his spiritual perspective. He has limited vision and hearing, and he can’t really communicate with the living, so his point of view is a very different and complex take on the trilogy.

But, it does explain some key elements from the original novel, and hints that not everything is as it seems in the Wayne and Wax books.

kelsier
Mistborn: The Final Empire Brazilian cover art by Marc Simonetti

That’s right. Kelsier never actually acquiesces his soul, so he’s still roaming limbo, using his limited abilities to effect the living. I’m not sure what all he’s done, but I have a feeling, if I reread some, I can find him, pulling string from beyond the grave.

But, the real highlight of this story for me was seeing Vin and Elend again. Post-death. I cried, just like I cry every time they die. It was so bittersweet, because Kelsier’s affection for Vin is much better explored and fleshed out. It was rough on my emotions. As usual with these characters.

So, without context, this book absolutely does not work. And honestly, if you’re just a casual fan of the original trilogy, I’m not sure you’d like it. This novella poses a lot of deep questions and toys with what you think you know upon completing the trilogy. It’s not for the faint of heart.

But, if you’re in this deep, like me, then it’s worthwhile. For me, it felt like stolen time. Kelsier was the first Sanderson character I fell in love with. He was my favorite, and he still has a special place in my heart. So, spending so much uninterrupted time with him was magical, even if the ramifications this novella causes are mind-numbing.

And I think that’s really the best part. This novella was incredibly nostalgic for me, while offering up a ton of information and questions for the continuation of not just the Mistborn series, but the Cosmere at large.

So, if you’re like me, and all caught up and dying for any kind of answers, give this novella a try. It’ll confuse you, but it will give you at least some sort of answers while we wait for the last Wayne and Wax book.

I plan on finishing House of Many Ways by Wednesday night, so I should have a book review out on Thursday. From there I’m reading Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. From there, I’m not entirely sure.

See you soon, Blogland, and as always, thanks for reading!

 

BZ

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Book Review- The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Blogland!

I literally just finished reading The Bands of Mourning, and I’m at a loss for what else I could possibly do besides talk about this book, RIGHT NOW!

Now, I realize not everyone can read with the fervor I did, so if you’re not finished yet, and don’t want to be spoiled (and you don’t), then turn back now. No one will blame you.BandsofMourning_cover.jpg

After his wedding is sabotaged by a tumbling water tower Wax and Friends find themselves on a sort of Archaeological expedition, hunting down the fabled Bands of Mourning. They’re said to be the Lord Ruler’s bracers (bracers being the metal forearm bands that store Feruchemical ability).

Ok, I just realized that, unless you’re pretty well versed in your Mistborn lore, this is going to get confusing.

Anyway, the Kandra tried to get Wax to hunt down Mr. Suit (Wax’s Uncle, and the main villain of the series so far) in order to retrieve one of their brother’s Hemalurgic spikes. That’s the deal-y that grants sentience to the Kandra. ReLuur lost his when he was attacked by the Set, the folks Mr. Suit works for, after discovering the lost temple of the Lord Ruler. Insane and rambling without his spike, ReLuur is less than useful in providing information that could lead the Kandra to either his spike or the temple.

But, since the events of the last book, Wax is less than amenable to the whims of the Kandra or Harmony. He staunchly refuses, and so they turn to Marasi. Which really isn’t fair, because she of course says yes, which of course means Wax and Wayne are going too. Damn, sneaky Kandra.

So, Wax ends up traveling with Marasi to New Seran. Which means that Wayne, MeLaan, and Steris all went too. Which was nice. A nice big group on an even bigger adventure!

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Had to snap this one myself, apparently the internet hasn’t consumed it yet.

This book only spends a very small amount of time in Elendel, and focuses mainly on the Southern reaches of the Basin. New territory for the series thus far, and very interesting to see. While New Seran itself was charming, and place I’d love to see explored further, Wax and Co. don’t linger long. As endearing as a town built on a series of waterfalls is, it’s pretty hard to sight-see when you’ve been framed for murder.

Poor Wax can never just enjoy himself…

So the group flees in the night, heading Northeast toward the last known whereabouts of Mr. Suit. But what they find there isn’t Wax’s Uncle, but something far more interesting. And world-shattering.

Hidden in a remote warehouse, the Set is working on refurbishing a humongous ship. But Dulsing, the village the Set commandeered, is as landlocked as they come. Well, as the gang soon discovers, this is no ordinary ship. It doesn’t need water, seeing as it flies. And how does it do that?

Why, with Allomancy, of course!

So, after a wild gunfight, Wax and Friends load onto the ship, adding Wax’s sister Telsin to their company, as well as a man named Aliik. He’s a “Southerner”, someone who lives outside of the Basin, and it’s his people’s ship they’re stealing.

Now, a moment to discuss Aliik and just how crucial he is. While his understanding of Allomancy and Feruchemy are unique, showing that the Southerners view The Metallic Arts quite differently than those in the Basin, he’s much more important than that. Aliik’s very existence pulls the entire understanding of Scadrial into question. Wax and Marasi feel this most keenly, being the most intellectual ones of the group. There’s an entire race of folks whose entire history and customs are different than their own. And they have their own technologies and religions. This is incredibly important and mind-bending stuff for the people of the Elendel Basin. The ramifications don’t really get explored here, but by the end of the novel, it’s plain it’ll come up in the next book.Elendel Basin

Ahem, back to the topic at hand. So, they fly away, and though it’d probably be best to head back to Elendel and get reinforcements, there’s not really time. So they fly straight to the mountaintop temple thanks to Aliik and Telsin’s knowledge after being held captive by Mr. Suit and Co.

They get there first, just barely, and proceed through various booby-traps to get to the chamber where the Bracers should be. Except they’re not there. And they never were.

This is where the avalanche happens. Not a literal avalanche, although that was likely, seeing as they’re on top of a frigging mountain. I’m speaking of the Sanderson Avalanche. That wondrous whirlwind of plot points and details, where everything you thought you understood comes together in ways you never could have imagined.

As usual, Sanderson’s novel took a turn that blew my mind, and had me screaming as I read along. Characters are tested, and thus do things you didn’t think them capable of. Wayne in particular has such a moment, and I was at once proud and utterly heartbroken for him.

In fact, looking back, this is a very transformative story for Wayne. He grows a lot, and in ways I wouldn’t have expected. Seeing as he’s my favorite character, possibly of all time, this was an emotional story for me.

Anyway, I don’t want to spoil the avalanche. That’s just asking for bad juju. And if you think the avalanche was mind blowing, just wait for the epilogue. It basically takes everything you think you know about the Mistborn series and says, “There’s always another secret.”

Wax and Co
Awesome cartoon featuring (left to right) Steris, Marasi, Wax, and Wayne. By the talented Maki- check her out  here!

So, some points that aren’t spoiler related. Things I can talk freely about. This book was back in the swing of a high-action, Wild West train ride. The Bands of Mourning felt much more like The Alloy of Law. It was fast-paced, fun, and full of great banter and character interactions. There were tender moments, and much more crassness than I remember in the first two. It was just an incredibly fun book. Unlike Shadows of Self, which was straightforward, very dark, and soul-searching.

And The Bands of Mourning sets the tone for the final book in this series, The Lost Metal. As Sanderson calls it in his Postscript, “The epic finale of Mistborn: Era 2“. I guess that’s the official title for the Wayne and Wax books, now.

Another thing, this book is incredibly lore heavy. I remember thinking that Shadows of Self was a sharp swerve from the episodic and casual manner of The Alloy of Law, instead delving into the depths of Scadrial’s history and legends. Well, The Bands of Mourning makes Shadows look more like the kiddie pool. Events from the original Mistborn trilogy aren’t just mentioned, they’re critical to the plot and continue to be fleshed out. By the end of this book, things I thought were fact at the end of the original trilogy are now entirely up in the air.

Secret-History-coverWhich is where Mistborn: Secret History comes in. What’s this, you ask? Why, a novella that Sanderson is releasing, via ebook only, on Saturday. He didn’t announce it until Bands released, and he added a warning. That, though this novella is set during the original trilogy, it does contain spoilers for The Bands of Mourning.

Whaa..?

Basically, I ordered it immediately, and am now so grateful. If I had to wait a whole year (or more) to get any sort of answers after that epilogue, I would be about as sensible as ReLuur sans spike.

So, all in all, I adored this book. It was a return to the tone and pace that made The Alloy of Law my favorite book. Although I think I can safely say that The Bands of Mourning has usurped its predecessors in that regard. That wild west roller coaster feeling, where every page promises some new development. The faith that Wax can solve every problem, even if we’re not sure how he’ll do it just yet. And in this book, Wax’s decimated heart is rejuvenated. Watching him rise above such anger and loathing was really satisfying for me, especially since the last book had such a powerful effect on my emotions.

So hurry up and get caught up already!

 

BZ

Hello, it’s me.

If you can’t tell, I’ve been listening to Adele’s new CD. And it’s great. Too short, but great.

Anyway, I have some down time and wanted to write a little something that wasn’t a book review. I feel like it’s been forever since we’ve just talked.

I have a very slight cold. My head is stuffy, including nostrils and ears, and though I had a tiny bit of a sore throat two days ago, it has since disappeared. Of course I would get sick in time for my birthday. So dumb.

I’ve been reading a ton, and you’ll get the Silence book review sooner than later. I’m already 30+ pages into the last book, Finale, so be ready for that one probably early next week.

I’ve also been scouring the interwebs for new titles to add to me TBR list, as well as mapping out a rough sketch of what titles I’ll read in 2016.

So far I have:

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursala K. LeGuin
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
Stronghold by Melanie Rawn
Dragon Token by Melanie Rawn
Skybowl by Melanie Rawn
The Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
The Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch (hopefully!)
The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris
Various short fiction by Dashiell Hammet
The Third book in the Stormlight Archive

These are all just titles that are new to me, I haven’t considered the rereads I’ll inevitably undertake during the course of 2016.

Such as:

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson
Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

With any luck I’ll also reread the Kingkiller Chronicles because Rothfuss will finally publish the third book! Please for the love of god, PLEASE!

And of course, these titles are all dependent on the idea that I complete the titles remaining on my 2015 list, which are:

Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
Sixth of Dusk by Brandon Sanderson

Should I finish the above, I will finish 2015 with 55 titles read on Goodreads, and more than that when you take my bloglist into account. Overall, I’m really proud of my reading tenacity this year, and am aiming for a repeat performance next year.

Working at a Library means I pretty much think about books all day long. It’s awesome.

Anyway, this was what I wanted to talk about, mostly. I’m really excited for all the reading and writing that’s going to happen next year, and I can’t wait to tell you more as the year’s end gets closer!

As always, thanks for reading Blogland,

 

BZ

Book Review- The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Well… this is awkward. I was supposed to write and post this about two weeks ago. And here it is almost halfway through November and you’ve heard nothing from me!

Downright despicable, that is.

Anyway, a couple small points before I dig in.

I didn’t win that writing contest, which is fine, since it’s an ancient story and I had zero hopes set on it winning.

Book Club meets today to discuss Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I’ve already finished it, but won’t talk about it at length until after the meeting.

Also, thanks to Book Club and various assigned readings, I only have to read three more books this year to meet my goal! That’s right! I’ve read 42 books this year, which when you think about all the school work and the whole 48+ hours a week thing, is pretty badass. I am super excited to reach this achievement.

Anyway, on with the review! Consider yourself warned, here there be massive spoilers and fangirlish squealing loud enough that you’ll swear you can hear it through your computer screen.

My paperback version, which is now mostly illegible thanks to the myriad notes...
My paperback version, which is now mostly illegible thanks to the myriad notes…

So, The Alloy of Law is what you might call a spin-off. It’s set in the same world as the original Mistborn series, 300ish years after the events of those novels. Which is awesome because-

A: I’ve never seen a fantasy world do that before. Grow, change, experience time in a moderately realistic way.

and

B: The reader gets to pick up countless references to characters from the old series, and figure just how they played into the development and history of the world. They have weight and value beyond just the old plots. They’ve become gods, statues, and tombs. Street names and slang terms. It’s really wonderful to experience.

So, Scadrial, the planet on which all of this takes place, is an active place with sense of time and history.

We meet Waxillium Ladrian in the prologue, as he’s hunting down a deranged serial killer called Bloody Tan. Even in these early pages Wax’s strong sense of justice and his wry sense of humor comes through. He’s immediately likable and intriguing, part lawman, part gentleman, and an Allomancer to boot.

Btw, being an Allomancer means he can use a type of magic (Allomancy) which allows him to “burn” a metal which grants him a certain ability. Every type of Allomantic metal creates a different kind of power, but most people can only burn one metal (unless you’re a Mistborn, then you can burn them all, but those seemed to have died out after the events of The Hero of Ages). In Wax’s case he can burn steel, which allows him to push off of metals and basically fly around. In the world’s layman terms, he’s a Coinshot.

Anyway, Wax hunts down this Bloody Tan chap to find that the killer has Lessie, Wax’s wife (more or less), held hostage. But, not to worry, they have a plan for this exact scenario. Lessie blinks three times, on three Wax fires, and Lessie jerks to the side. Perfection, right?

Oh, except for the part where Bloody Tan is on to them, and Wax’s bullet takes Lessie right above the eye, killing her instantly.

And that’s how Wax finds himself back in Elendel, seeing to his family’s estate, shrugging on the mantle of nobleman with decided discomfort.
Map_Of_Elendel

But, Wax’s retirement is short lived, as a series of train robberies mystify local constables, and one of his own shipments goes missing. Enter Wayne, Wax’s irascible sidekick, who’s equal parts confusing and lovable. He is easily my favorite character ever. I mean this literally. Wayne is my all time favorite character I have ever read.

Anyway, Wayne has returned from the Roughs (read: frontier) to pull Wax from retirement, but it isn’t until women are kidnapped at a wedding he was attending that Wax finally takes up arms.

I feel it’s important to mention here that Wax’s fiancée, Steris, is one of the kidnapees. It’s an engagement of necessity. Wax’s family, the Ladrians, are very prominent in society, and have a seat at the Senate. But, thanks to his uncle, they’re very literally broke. Steris’s family is loaded, but outside of that inner circle of nobility.

Anyway, once Wax and Wayne battle at the wedding, there’s no keeping the duo from following leads in an effort to get Steris back. They even get a new accomplice, Ms. Marasi Colms, who turns out to be Steris’s illegitimate sister. And a potential love interest for Wax.

As the story moves on, Wax figures out that the leader of the Vanishers, the enigmatic robbers responsible for disappearing train cars and the kidnappings of women with Allomantic genealogies, is none other than Miles Hundredlives, a Roughs lawman with an overwhelming ability.

See, Miles is a Bloodmaker, like Wayne, allowing him to heal by using stored health from his Metalminds, but he also can burn gold as well. It’s called compounding, and pretty much means that Miles can heal continuously, with no known limit. Aside from aging, the man is quite immortal.

Gunfights between Wax and Miles are intense, full of aerial acrobatics on Wax’s part, and require a ridiculous amount of cleverness from him as well.

But, in the end, it’s Marasi’s Allomantic power that saves the day. She’s been told her whole life that it’s useless, shameful even, but she can speed up time for herself. The outside world moves in a blur, as she sits inside a bubble of normal time. It’s the opposite of Wayne’s Allomancy, which allows him to slow down time.

Anyway, after clearing the hideout of all other Vanishers in a grueling gunfight, Wax singles out Miles and basically starts boxing him. At this point, Wax’s body is in bad shape, and he lets Miles take out his rage on him. While Miles is preoccupied, Marasi uses her Allomancy, and Wayne runs to get a squad or three from the nearest Constabulary.

And so they capture Miles Hundredlives, rescue Steris, and Wax earns an Honorary Constable Badge, allowing him to investigate crimes and perform arrests.

But, at the end, Wax draws the line between him and Marasi. She’s infatuated with him, and he likes her, but he’s engaged to Steris, and Lessie’s been gone less than a year.
Ironeyes

And so Marasi focuses on her schooling, in criminal justice by the way, and attends Miles’s death sentence. But, as she’s leaving, she sees something strange. An unusually tall figure, in a cloak, beckoning her to follow. Turns out it’s Ironeyes himself, a character from the original trilogy, come to deliver a handwritten book to her. He wants her to give it to Wax. And then he disappears.

And then I waited four long years to see what that book had to say!

Obviously, I am a huge fan of this series, as I’ve talked about it at length for about four years now. And it doesn’t look like I’ll be quiet anytime soon, since the next book comes out in January!
Wax and Wayne (Mistborn)

See you soon, Blogland, when I’m back to discuss Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.

Book Review- Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

Now, if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know I am a Brandon Sanderson fan. Like, the foaming at the mouth, squealing uncontrollably variety.

Me when someone mentions Sanderson.
Me when someone mentions Sanderson.

Anyway, Sanderson just released Shadows of Self on October 6th, which I’ve been counting down to ever since he announced it back in December of last year. Again, if you’ve been reading along, I’ve talked at length about The Alloy of Law, and it’s probably my favorite book of my adult life. Shadows of Self is the sequel, which I’ve waited four years for.

Brandon toured in support of the release, and he made a stop in Portland, so like any good fangirl, I requested the night off work and drove my happy ass on up.

Shadows of Self Release
#ShadowsofSelfie

As usual at these things, I met all kinds of people, some of them calm and nice, and just a little nerdy. Others… well, they are deeply entrenched in this fandom, same as me, but man are they vocal about it! It’s always fun to eavesdrop on the overflowing enthusiasm of these folks, and me and the fellow seated next to me giggled a lot.

Brandon talked a bit, and gave a really nice lecture about the power of fiction to cross distances, time, and cultures to give people something in common. In short, about fiction’s ability to bring people together. He spoke about nerdom’s recent trend of exclusion, and how quick we are to judge someone’s nerd level, and how eager we can be to find them lacking. He spoke against it, begged us to be more inclusive. And I gotta say, Sandersonites (yes, that’s how we refer to ourselves) are one inclusive bunch. We desperately want people to read Sanderson, we brag about him to any and everyone. And we’re more than happy to educate others on the intricacies of the Cosmere. And once we’re all on the same page, we start theorizing wildly!
SandersonPowells2015

Then he answered some questions, which I rarely participate in, mainly because I can never think of a question good enough. And then he read a chapter from the next Stormlight book, and I grinned the entire time! I am so excited for that book! Then came the signing, which took a while, so I read while I waited.

And then this magic happened:
SandersonFunPic

And of course I tweeted all of these things, and Brandon even retweeted a couple of them. So, needless to say, I was in fangirl heaven for the next 24 hours or so.

Now, on to the actual review! As per usual, there are massive spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk!
Shadows-of-Self_Mistborn_Sanderson

So, the book opens about a year after the events of The Alloy of Law. Marasi finished her schooling, but left her solicitor dreams behind to work in Elendel’s constabulary. She was hired on at a fairly high level, which has definitely stepped on a few toes in the precinct. But, she’s holding her own and proving her worth.

Wayne moved in to Wax’s mansion, where he proves to be a consistent, and much loved, pain in the ass.

Wax has been made an honorary constable, which allows him to continue his detective shenanigans, and keep him occupied while Steris continues to plan the wedding.

Yes, that’s still a thing. I hated Steris at the end of The Alloy of Law, but by the end of this book, I saw her in a totally different light, and I actually really like her.

Now, Alloy felt fairly episodic. Though it referenced from and drew heavily on the Mistborn trilogy, it was it’s own stand alone story. And that was how Sanderson originally intended it. But, as Wax’s story continues, Shadows suddenly becomes a very “Cosmere” story. If you haven’t read the original Mistborn trilogy, much of Shadows won’t make sense. The Kandra feature heavily in this story, and beloved characters from the original trilogy make an appearance in this novel.

Which was awesome! And now I want a SoonieCub so bad! (A stuffed animal based on the character in Shadows).

Anyway, Wax and company discover that there’s a plot against the Governor of Elendel, and they endeavor to save him from a homicidal kandra.

Now, about kandra. They’re immortal shapeshifters, which makes finding and killing them damn near impossible. So this book is full of brutal gunfights, insane Allomantic battles, and a ton of suspicion, paranoia, and plot twists.

Shadows wasn’t so much the wild train ride that Alloy was, and it’s actually a really heavy story. Wax’s faith in Harmony gets thoroughly rattled, if not completely obliterated. And by the end of the book, I didn’t even blame him.

Side note: it’s really strange to witness a character that was so wise and kind in one series intentionally hurt a beloved character in another one. My love for them conflicts, and my logical brain tells me that Sazed/Harmony wouldn’t do this to Wax if there was any other way. In a really strange turn of fictional events, I just need to have faith.

Now, there is a HUGE spoiler at the end of this novel. Like, just this monstrously awful thing that’s sort of gnawing away at my soul, even now. I’m not going to talk about it here, because it’s that big, and because it physically hurts me to think about it too much. To the point where, when I finished the novel last night, this happened:
SandersonTweet

All in all, I adored this book. I fully intend to reread Alloy and Shadows, because the second read through always reveals something new. As Kelsier said, “there’s always another secret”. I’m betting Shadows has a few more I can figure out before Bands of Mourning releases in January.

And you better believe I am counting down to that release!
Wax and Wayne (Mistborn)

Thanks, as usual, for getting this far. I highly recommend this book, but you will need to do your background reading first, or else it’s just going to be a REALLY steep learning curve.

The Book Club meets tomorrow night to discuss The Perks of Being a Wallflower, so you’ll hopefully hear from me sooner than later!

BZ

Up in Arms for Banned Books Week

Hello Humans and Spam-bots!

It’s been a beautiful first week-ish of fall. Highs in the low 70s, and a delicious crispness to the evenings and mornings. A seasonal chill that, unfortunately, wheedles its way into our apartment.

I’m sitting in my second favorite Starbucks in town crunching through a chonga bagel and making quick work of my ritual iced coffee.

I’ve been thinking a lot. About all kinds of things. For the first time in a long time my mind is rife with possibilities. I think it’s the realization that, while I do want to be a writer when I grow up, that usually means I need another career simultaneously.

I don’t know what that’s going to be. Until recently, I never really thought about it. A day job. Staying on at the Library seems the logical choice, but it’s also the easiest.

What about teaching? What about politics? What about moving to Japan to teach English?

That last one is my favorite. I always told Trevor I wanted to live in a big city for a year. Why not a big, foreign city? A real adventure!

The world is big. It’s full of billions of people, all with their own unique stories. I don’t want to tell those stories, but I want the experiences they can afford me, so I can spin them into new, original stories.

Experiencing the world is the only way to learn how to build a convincing one.

Also, I’ve decided that I want to science better.

Seriously though, I loved Geology, and reading all this Colonial Mars fiction has me missing the stories rocks can tell us.

So, I want to travel, I want to spend more time in nature, and I want the knowledge required to appreciate them both.

How do I do that?

Well, finish school. Trevor and I both want to finish our degrees, though I am much closer to my goal at the moment. Then, we want to buy a house here in Salem. We love Salem, and we want to call it home base.

So buy a house, live in it, make it ours and nice, and then rent it out so we can disappear into the wilderness of the world. At least for a year.

I don’t know how long it will take to do this, or how long we’ll adventure before we decide it really is time to settle. But, right now, I am restless.

(Side note, someone in Starbucks uttered that most-hated sentence, “Been thinkin’ about writing a book”. Because it’s that easy…)

I’ve just been feeling very passionate about a lot of things lately. It’s almost like a spiritual reawakening. I’m not sure why it’s happening now, or what to do with all of the energy, but I like it.

I want to change things. I want to share my passion and ignite it in others. I want to show the world that indifference is a cancer. And the only way I know to do that is to talk about it, write about it. Share.

So, what am I riled up about today?

Banned Books Week!

I even have a cute button that reads, “I read banned books” inside the outline of the state of Oregon.

See?
See?

The book I’m reading currently, Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, was never challenged as far as I know, but our next book club read, The Perks of Being a Wallflower sure has been! I just put it on hold today, so hopefully I’ll get it before the end of the week.

Also, I’m still waiting for one of the four (FOUR?) copies of The Aeronaut’s Windlass to find its way to the hold shelf, with my name poking out of it. I fear it’s going to be a long wait.
The Aeronaut's Windlass

But, next Saturday I’m going to see Brandon Sanderson and will spend HOURS nose deep in Shadows of Self. I absolutely. Can. Not. Wait.
Shadows-of-Self_Mistborn_Sanderson

Anyway, I’m running out of time to read, and I am already about 100 pages behind where I need to be. Dragon Age, and my lack of discipline, keeps getting in the way.

As usual, thanks for listening to me ramble. Much Love, Blogland.

BZ

Close Only Counts in Handgrenades and… Book Lists?

Hello there!

I’m just swinging by to say hi, and share a little bit of my brain with you.

I’ve been thinking a lot about reading lately. Kind of obsessed with it really. I’m so close to making my reading goal for the year, that I’m more or less completely wrapped up in whether I’ll actually make it or not.

I’ve read 32 books so far this year. My goal is 45. I have a pretty good plan built up, but even then it’s cutting it close. I at least have school to augment my list:

  1. Finish The Martian Chronicles, should be done tonight or tomorrow morning.
  2. Martian Time-Slip by Philip K. Dick
  3. Moving Mars by Greg Bear
  4. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

From here, things get tricky. There’s three book club titles left:

  1. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  3. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

But, after that, things are pretty up in the air. But, there are two new releases this fall that I’m super stoked about:

  1. The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher, releases Sept. 29th
  2. Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson, releases Oct. 6th

So, I have Jim Butcher’s forthcoming novel, the first in his new series, The Cinder Spires, on hold at the library. There are already 13 holds placed, and I’m number 12. So, it might take a while to get hold of that one. But, I’m going to see Sanderson on October 10th, which gives me four-ish days to reread The Alloy of Law, so that I’m all set for its sequel.

So, with all of those titles, and the reread of the first Wayne and Wax book, I’m at 42 books. Well, I’m over 200 pages into A Game of Thrones, so let’s just assume I finish it before the end of the year.

That’s 43. I still need two more books. And I have no idea what they’re going to be. It’s stressing me out, which is ridiculous. I have a million other things to stress about, but the mysterious two books keeping me from my goal are keeping me up at night.

Dumb.

Anyway, I only have about 50 pages left in The Martian Chronicles, and the sooner I finish it, the more time I have to reach my goal!

Have a good night blogland, and if you have any recommendations for my remaining two slots, share them in the comments!

BZ