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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Velaryon View Post
    I read the first book of the series, thought it was alright, but never went further. Wolfe's reputation (many other writers call him the best author alive, or the greatest sci fi author ever, or similarly high praise) is no doubt well-earned, but I think it built my expectations too high. I had trouble connecting to Severian as a character and wasn't invested enough in him to continue the series. I think maybe in my early 20's I probably missed a lot of the subtle details and such that Wolfe is known for, so if I went back and gave it another read I would probably appreciate him more the second time through.

    I will say though that my first exposure to Wolfe, a standalone novel from ~25 years later called Pirate Freedom, was much more accessible and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
    Severian is definitely difficult to relate with, but that's never been something I particularly worry about when reading. I tend to be at a distance from all the characters in every novel I read. I think part of Severian's difficulty to relate with is simply due to how different the world he's in is. It's like a distorted reflection of our world.

    Since I'm into the whole "rewards paying attention" thing, I'm also reading another book right now (since I tend to have multiple on the go at any given time); this one is a reread, but I'm enjoying it again, even if it is still a bit hard to get into - Blood Meridian, possibly the most violent novel I've ever read (I haven't read American Psycho, so I can't compare them). The novel is good, the "villain" is kind of terrifying, and Cormac McCarthy is an incredible author, but a lot of people would be turned off by his odd typographical choices - he refuses to use any punctuation that isn't a full stop or a comma.
    This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we dont give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, thats all we wanted to do.

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    I'm about halfway through Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. It's very different from what I expected (I thought it would skip ahead much sooner) but in a good way.
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    What this guy said.

  3. - Top - End - #153
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Finishing up the original Thrawn trilogy. I like it a lot and understand why Thrawn is such a popular character, he is brilliantly written. Not a fan of C'baoth however. I have a feeling he's going to be the reason Thrawn is going to be unable to best the New Republic.

  4. - Top - End - #154
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    I've made a lot more progress in Rebel of the Sands. It's definitely typical YA fare in a lot of ways, but it has put some twists on the fantasy western genre. For one thing, it's a fantasy Arabian western, with some characters being markedly different or having special abilities because of having some djinni blood in their background. One of the main things going on in the world is that the sultan's son is leading a rebellion with a hidden base in the desert (the son, thought dead, had shown up surprisingly to a tournament to crown the sultan's heir, won despite some double-crossing, and fled execution). Despite leaning on a few fairly predictable YA tropes, it has a couple of interesting twists, and the main character is competent and cool without being (as far as I can tell, anyway) a Chosen One of prophecy or anything like that. And best of all, while there is a fairly low-key romantic subplot, it's not a (*&#%$#^ love triangle, which is my absolute most hated YA trope.

    So yeah, it's pretty alright so far. I think I'm gonna put the second book on my to-read pile.

  5. - Top - End - #155
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    Friday was the twenty-second, which meant it was time to start the not-quite-annual reread of Lord of the Rings. Two or three years appears to be about the perfect spacing for Tolkien rereads; long enough for the work to have settled.

    This will probably throw me out of my current fiction, Caitlin Kiernan's Silk, which hasn't really been doing it for me. I'm over halfway through the book, and it's just possible that something resembling a plot is finally showing up. Before that it was about 175 pages of people being aimlessly miserable, probably psychotic, and mostly horrible. I think I'm supposed to find the spider-imagery that keeps showing up creepy or something, but I don't actually find spiders objectionable, which leaves me just sitting there watching the characters do stupid horrible stuff to each other and start to hope that maybe spider-demons really will eat everybody. Except that would constitute something actually happening, and this book seems nearly allergic to that.

    That and the prose is sort of wearing on me. Kiernan really likes descriptive clauses, to the point where damn near noun or verb has a little phrase after it, usually of the form "___ and ___ as ___" or something along those lines. This structure shows up constantly, and at some point it gets tedious. I get that purple prose is sort of a Lovecraftian thing, and this is definitely going for some sort of Lovecraft theme, but at least Lovecraft eventually got the point. More happened in the hundred odd pages of At the Mountains of Madness than in this entire book so far.
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
    Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

  6. - Top - End - #156
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Yesterday I started Blindsight by Peter Watts. So far it has a vampire, a protagonist who gets through society by mimicking behaviour (I've never felt so connected to a protagonist before), people plugging into The Sims 400 all day every day, and a weird thing at the edge of the solar system. This looks to be an interesting ride.

    Imagine you are a kindle...
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  7. - Top - End - #157
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Yesterday I started Blindsight by Peter Watts. So far it has a vampire, a protagonist who gets through society by mimicking behaviour (I've never felt so connected to a protagonist before), people plugging into The Sims 400 all day every day, and a weird thing at the edge of the solar system. This looks to be an interesting ride.

    Imagine you are a kindle...
    Huh, oddly enough, I bought and read Blindsight last night. Am now onto the second book in the 'verse, Echopraxia.
    This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we dont give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, thats all we wanted to do.

  8. - Top - End - #158
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    I'm not currently reading anything, but I'm in the process of trying to allocate this month's Kindle budget. I'm torn between trying the Temeraire series, or giving Brandon Sanderson's work (outside of his finishing the Wheel Of Time series) a try. Advice?

  9. - Top - End - #159
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow of the Sun View Post
    Huh, oddly enough, I bought and read Blindsight last night. Am now onto the second book in the 'verse, Echopraxia.
    I got it off his websight, if it holds up I'll drop the money for the Kindle version when I have the disposable income (which is why I'm not finishing the Night's Dawn Trilogy right now). Looking forward to having the 'sequel' available once I've finished though.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  10. - Top - End - #160
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    I've been on an anthology kick recently, but between the short stories I found time to read The Buried Giant. I've seen it used as an example of a work definitively within the fantasy genre when looked at in terms of setting that nonetheless really doesn't feel like fantasy, and while I wouldn't agree with that analysis it was nice to read something that involved magic and monsters and the like while feeling more like fable and legend than somebody's D&D campaign.

  11. - Top - End - #161
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    I'm not currently reading anything, but I'm in the process of trying to allocate this month's Kindle budget. I'm torn between trying the Temeraire series, or giving Brandon Sanderson's work (outside of his finishing the Wheel Of Time series) a try. Advice?
    I don't know anything about Temeraire, but I can tell you Brandon Sanderson has some really good stuff. I've read much of his Mistborn stuff and his YA series Steelheart, but my favorite that I've read is his Stormlight Archive books. The only thing I don't like about the series is that he's moving at a pace akin to the great bearded glacier that is George RR Martin (but at least Sanderson puts out stuff in between books in the Stormlight Archive). There are two books out in this series so far with a third one coming later this fall.

    If you want something more specific than the gushing I'm doing, Sanderson's real strength is in coming up with creative systems for magic and building worlds around them. Something that wouldn't be on display when he finished another person's work. So if you enjoyed him only expanding on someone else's world, try seeing him craft one of his own.

    If you're looking for a way to test out Sanderson while being budget conscious, I know he's released some of his books under a creative commons license. I don't remember exactly which books, but Warbreaker I'm pretty sure was one of them (possibly the only one...). It is an older book by him, and I know he's grown a lot as a writer in the intervening years, but it might give you a free place to start.

  12. - Top - End - #162
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by dariathalon View Post
    I don't know anything about Temeraire, but I can tell you Brandon Sanderson has some really good stuff. I've read much of his Mistborn stuff and his YA series Steelheart, but my favorite that I've read is his Stormlight Archive books. The only thing I don't like about the series is that he's moving at a pace akin to the great bearded glacier that is George RR Martin (but at least Sanderson puts out stuff in between books in the Stormlight Archive). There are two books out in this series so far with a third one coming later this fall.
    I mean, he released the first book in the series in 2010, the second in 2014, and the third is dropping in November. That's quite a lot better than GRRM. :P

    I'll throw down my enjoyment of the Stormlight Archive books, as well as pretty much everything he does, although I know that some people find his prose to be somewhat lifeless.
    This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we dont give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, thats all we wanted to do.

  13. - Top - End - #163
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    I've been on an anthology kick recently, but between the short stories I found time to read The Buried Giant. ..
    ...feeling more like fable and legend than....

    That sounds perfect!

    I'm very intrigued.
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  14. - Top - End - #164
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    That sounds perfect!

    I'm very intrigued.
    I recommended it to you personally in the thread where you were looking for recommendations, and I stand by it. The only thing that's changed is now I've read it, as opposed to having just heard good things and having it on the reading pile.

  15. - Top - End - #165
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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    I recommended it....

    I remember.

    Thanks!


  16. - Top - End - #166
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow of the Sun View Post
    I mean, he released the first book in the series in 2010, the second in 2014, and the third is dropping in November. That's quite a lot better than GRRM. :P

    I'll throw down my enjoyment of the Stormlight Archive books, as well as pretty much everything he does, although I know that some people find his prose to be somewhat lifeless.
    If he's only got three books in that series, I'll try the other one. I'm hoping for something to hold my attention for awhile, and I read far too quickly for that to be easy. One of the reasons I was able to get into the Wheel of Time series was the novelty of taking more than a few days to get through each book.

  17. - Top - End - #167
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    If he's only got three books in that series, I'll try the other one. I'm hoping for something to hold my attention for awhile, and I read far too quickly for that to be easy. One of the reasons I was able to get into the Wheel of Time series was the novelty of taking more than a few days to get through each book.
    If you've not read any of his Cosmere stuff before I recommend the standalone books, Elantris and Warbreaker*. The Stormlight Archive is still being written (and in my opinion is his second weakest work), while Mistborn might be his most famous but the original trilogy isn't all it's cracked up to be (I personally didn't like the second book), and it's ending is spoiled by the presence of the Wax and Wayne books (which are amazing, but you need to have read the first Trilogy to understand everything).

    * Technically it has a sequel if it ever gets written, but it's on the backburner because it won't be like Warbreaker.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  18. - Top - End - #168
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Well, I just finished a collection of Lovecraft novels and now am going to find something else to read, probabaly Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb as a few friends said it was good... that and my friends are trying to get me to read manga (bleck; cue hissing) and I am using this as an excuse not to
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  19. - Top - End - #169
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    I'm not currently reading anything, but I'm in the process of trying to allocate this month's Kindle budget. I'm torn between trying the Temeraire series, or giving Brandon Sanderson's work (outside of his finishing the Wheel Of Time series) a try. Advice?
    The Sanderson half has been addressed (though I've got some to say on that as well), but let me start with Temeraire since no one else has touched that yet.

    In short, the Temeraire series is the Napoleonic Wars, but with dragons. In this alternate history, dragons are a thing, and different nations have different breeds of dragon. European nations at least use them as air force. Dragons being large, intelligent creatures (to varying degrees, anyway) with massive appetites, the people who work with them are a breed apart, and while seen as necessary are kind of outsiders in society.

    The main character serves on a British naval vessel which captures a dragon egg from a French ship, and is forced to become the dragon's captain (humans can bond with dragons at birth, not in any telepathic or magical sense, but such that they become sort of a parent figure to the dragon). Dragons being rare and valuable, he has to leave the navy to become the dragon's captain.

    The series kind of alternates between the war against Napoleon, and finding excuses to go to different parts of the world and see how the existence of dragons has changed society there. It has its strong points and its weak points like any series (for me the weakest is the book that takes place in Australia), but overall it's a solid series with well thought-out characters and a neat take on the premise.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Brandon Sanderson is a pretty prolific author. It's like he stole all of George R.R. Martin's and Patrick Rothfuss's productivity for himself. As others have said, Sanderson's strength is in creating interesting magic systems with defined rules, and then exploring those to their limitations and logical outcomes. His prose is functional, but definitely not his strong point (though his more recent works definitely show improvement over older ones in this respect).

    Other than finishing the Wheel of Time, he's best known for the Mistborn series, which makes that a logical starting point, but it isn't necessary. A few of his series are in a shared universe known as the Cosmere. The connections between them are still fairly vague at this point, but presumably they will eventually be tied together more firmly.

    Here are some short synopses of some of his series (spoilered because they add up to a fairly long post):

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    Mistborn (first trilogy): imagine if the legendary hero of prophecy had turned the world to ruin and ruled for a thousand years as an immortal god-tyrant. That's where Mistborn begins. The magic systems (there are more than one) involve metals. The titular Mistborn is someone who practices allomancy - gaining magical powers through ingestion and expenditure of trace amounts of various metals. This allows them to do things like inflaming or suppressing others' emotions, pushing or pulling on sources of metal, enhancing physical attributes or senses, and more.

    Mistborn (second trilogy): Takes place centuries after the first trilogy, so the characters of those books are now legendary and mythological figures. Technology has advanced to around the 19th century, so things like trains and revolvers exist, which gives it more of a fantasy western feel. The magic systems are the same, though are used and combined in different ways.

    The Reckoners: One day, people started gaining superpowers. Unfortunately, those people also became evil jerks. The most powerful of these people (known as Epics), quickly overwhelmed modern society and carved out kingdoms for themselves with lesser Epics as the ruling upper class, and regular individuals as little more than serfs. The main character is a teenager whose father was murdered by the titular Steelheart (think Superman, but trading in the heat vision and super breath for the ability to turn anything around him into steel on command), and ever since he has studied Epics to find their weaknesses and how to kill them. He hooks up with a group called the Reckoners, people who travel from city to city trying to instill hope in the common people and take out Epics when and where they can.

    Elantris: haven't read this one, someone else can detail it

    The Stormlight Archive: Long ago, a race of magical knights betrayed their vows and abandoned the world they had sworn to protect. Nowadays, kingdoms are ruled by nobles who have no concept of egalitarianism or chivalry, who openly seek wealth and glory, and wield magical weapons and armor from an age past that they no longer know how to create. A mysterious foreign assassin with magical powers murders a king and starts a war between humans and Parshendi (a recently discovered race that resembles Parshmen, a docile humanoid race that the humans use as slaves). One main character is a former soldier who was made a slave as part of a cover-up. The other is a minor noblewoman studying under a renowned scholar with the intent of betraying her mentor to save her family. These are usually Sanderson's longest books, and he typically goes several years in between releases.

    The Rithmatist: Takes place at a school, in a world where magic is done by a sort of combination of art and geometry. Spells are drawn, but things like perfect circles and angles are important to their correct function. The main character is a student at the school who very badly wants to be a rithmatist, but isn't. When students start disappearing and are presumed dead, he starts helping a professor investigate, while trying to learn what he can of rithmatism. Apparently a sequel is planned, but so far there isn't much information on it.

    Warbreaker: ...this is a weird one that's a bit hard for me to explain. There are three main characters: two princesses and a god. The elder princess is supposed to be sent as a bride to the neighboring kingdom's God King, but her younger sister gets sent instead. Older sister goes after her, falls in with some mercenaries who promise to help her. Meanwhile, the younger sister discovers that all is not as it seems with the silent and aloof God King, who may in fact not be what he appears to be. The third character is a Returned, someone who died and came back to life as an immortal (with no memory of his previous life) who is now worshipped as a god. He seems bored and flippant until he starts investigating a murder that catches his attention. The magic system involves the use of BioChromatic Breath, a kind of life energy, to do various things. Everyone is born with one Breath, but if you have more, you can do things like animate objects or make undead warriors. In addition, having more Breaths gives you passive benefits, which are cumulative the more you have. They start lower with things like perfect pitch and color sense, but with more you can get benefits like agelessness. It's a really unique system that I've done a poor job explaining. You can read numerous drafts of the book online for free at Brandon Sanderson's website.

  20. - Top - End - #170
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    Currently reading through the complete Sherlock Holmes omnibus.

    Ah to think back on childhood and remember believing I could be the next Holmes....

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  21. - Top - End - #171
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    I continued reading Time of Contempt.
    Last edited by Yora; 2017-09-27 at 04:34 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lentrax View Post
    Ah to think back on childhood and remember believing I could be the next Holmes....
    Don't we all?
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    Perhaps it comes from being a Doctor's son ( or being a natural follower) but I always wanted to be Watson
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    I've been on an anthology kick recently, but between the short stories I found time to read The Buried Giant. I've seen it used as an example of a work definitively within the fantasy genre when looked at in terms of setting that nonetheless really doesn't feel like fantasy, and while I wouldn't agree with that analysis it was nice to read something that involved magic and monsters and the like while feeling more like fable and legend than somebody's D&D campaign.

    When I picked up Kazuo Ishiguro's novel my bookseller (Jack at Dark Carnival) asked "Is there something going on with Buried Giant, it's the second one I've sold this week"?

    I suspect that someone else in my area read your recommendation!
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    A Borrowed Man by Gene Wolfe.

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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Decided to start reading Mistborn. The ending of the first book was a little disappointing, but the hinting at the start of the second begins to reverse that. Otherwise quite solid, although the twists on Allomancy have (so far) been pretty obvious for the most part. That's somewhat a product of Sanderson designing a coherent magical system, so it isn't too much of a downside.

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    For reference, I've just gotten past the point where we figure out what duralumin does.

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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    Decided to start reading Mistborn. The ending of the first book was a little disappointing, but the hinting at the start of the second begins to reverse that. Otherwise quite solid, although the twists on Allomancy have (so far) been pretty obvious for the most part. That's somewhat a product of Sanderson designing a coherent magical system, so it isn't too much of a downside.

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    For reference, I've just gotten past the point where we figure out what duralumin does.
    I just got through Elantris. Solid, but unremarkable. As far as I can tell, the most impressive thing about Sanderson is his work ethic.

  28. - Top - End - #178
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Sanderson's improving as he goes. Elantris was good, but not amazing. Mistborn was a little better, etc, etc.

    I personally think his best work is actually a piece of short fiction he did, set in the world of Elantris but more or less completely unrelated to the story of it. It's called The Emperor's Soul, and it's an incredibly good piece of fiction.
    This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we dont give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, thats all we wanted to do.

  29. - Top - End - #179
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Just finished The Proof House, the final book in KJ Parker's Fencer Trilogy. Was just as good as the first in the series, Colours in the Steel, but not as good as the second book (that climax was just wonderful and squick at the same time).

    Picked up a book on Minimalism and Neal Stephenson's infamous Snow Crash, so that's next on the docket.

  30. - Top - End - #180
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Peelee's Avatar

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    Default Re: What are you reading right now?

    Well, I finished Catalyst the other day, so I went to the bookstore today to pick up Ahsoka. Didn't have it. Nor Rebel Rising. So, I'm sucking it up and going into Aftermath: Life Debt. May god have mercy on my soul.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2017-10-01 at 07:11 PM.
    I'M A DADDY!

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    It would be nice to just change the title of this thread to be "stuff about Jedi"
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    Applying the swarm rules and vampire template to a group of babies strikes me as incredibly funny.

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