Review: Brandon Sanderson – Calamity (Reckoners #3)

Brandon Sanderson: Calamity (Reckoners #3); narrator: McLeod Andrews; audible studios, 11:51h, 24,46 €

 

This is the grand finale to the Epic tale. We’re no longer in New York, and we haven’t gone back to Chicago, but we’re in Atlanta now, which, just like the steel-city and the water-city, has a specific feature: the buildings, trees, etc are made of salt, AND the city moves, destroying and rebuilding itself every seven days.
David and his decimated team of Reckoners meet old foes and new ones, and they aren’t well equipped or prepared. However, they get help from unexpected quarters, and so they take up the fight against Prof — and ultimately, against Calamity.

Again, this book is full of surprises, there are so many unexpected twists and turns, it is a joy to behold. I really need to make my son listen to this epic (sorry, can’t resist the pun here) trilogy, so at least somebody will know what I mean, should I ever find myself exclaiming: „Sparks!“ or „Calamity!“ Yes, that’s all the cursing there is (and it’s very often just an exclamation of surprise).

Oh, and I love didgeridooing — I want that filter for some of the books I read/listen to!!

McLeod Andrews’narration was perfect again, and I think I prefer him to Michael Kramer (who is a great narrator, too).

So, I guess you can see that I’m quite enthusiastic about this trilogy, it’s great ya stuff that makes you think, because of course all the right questions are being raised (about the legitimacy of killing a foe, for instance, and how you go on living with the knowledge that you’ve killed –admittedly dangerous, tyrannical — people who never chose to be like they are. Can you overcome the darkness within you? Can friends help you with it? And what about love?
This trilogy isn’t just a great ya story, but it is food for thought, too.

Review: Wilkie Collins – The Evil Genius

Wilkie Collins: The Evil Genius, ebook, 296 pages, Project Gutenberg (public domain)
Wilkie Collins: The Evil Genius, ebook, 296 pages, Project Gutenberg (public domain)

 

I’m a bit of a Wilkie Collins fan, and since there are a number of his novels that I don’t know yet, I decided to revisit his works.

This work is one of his weaker novels, but not quite as weak as ‚Poor Miss Finch‘, which is by far the weakest of his novels that I’ve read.

The characters are plastic, and they develop, but I think I prefer his mysteries to his romances.
I’m not quite sure what to make of the moral views, either. They’re somehow twisted, but then I guess they’re indeed mirroring the general sentiments of the time, and as such, you can understand why the characters act as they do. The oddest thing is, that in Catholic circles, nothing has changed until today. Fascinating.

Since I have to rate it, and semi stars aren’t possible, let me just say that I’d award this novel 3.5 stars.

Review: Mike Shelton – The Dragon Orb (The Alaris Chronicles Book 1)

Mike Shelton:The Dragon Orb (The Alaris Chronicles Book 1); Kindle edition, 260p., 0,99€ (preorder)
Mike Shelton:The Dragon Orb (The Alaris Chronicles Book 1); Kindle edition, 260p., 0,99€ (preorder)

Like in the Cremolino Prophecy trilogy, Mike Shelton manages to sweep us into a world full of imagination, adventure, and magic.
There is a conspiracy thriving to push the kingdom into turmoil, and this is closely linked to a barrier which has separated the Elvyn land and the kingdom for 150 years, but which is now coming down.
What will be the consequences?

We have various characters: the good ones, the evil ones, and those on who the verdict is still out.

The chief characters are young wizards, supported by other young people. They need to do something to save their country from civil war. Whose side will they take? Can they be influenced in one way or the other, or are they at liberty to choose their loyalties themselves?

I really enjoyed this novel, it has everything you can wish for, but there is one thing that made me
subtract a star: this story would be very unsatisfying as a stand-alone, and although it doesn’t end in a complete cliffhanger, it is clear that it needs more books to fully explain the goings-on.
I hope we won’t have to wait for too long for the sequels, and I hope there’ll be an audio version at some point, too.

This was an Advance Reader Copy, provided to me by the author. Many thanks.

Review: Brandon Sanderson – Steelheart (Reckoners #1)

Brandon Sanderson: Steelheart (Reckoners #1); Brilliance Corpaudio, 12:15h, € 15,99

If you’re familiar with Brandon Sanderson’s fantasy novels, be prepared that this is different.

We’re in a new Chicago (Newcago) sometime in the future, and something has happened that caused Calamity, which in turn bestowed super powers on some humans – but not super humanity, alas.

Chicago becomes a permanently dark place of tyranny, where the ‚epics‘ rule. It’s a dangerous place to be. A group of rebel fighters take it upon them to fight the epics.

Sanderson develops a very somber scenario, and we have to ask ourselves where the fight for freedom ends and terrorism starts (it is a question the rebels themselves can’t give an answer to).

Of course there is hope.

The characters are very well worked out, the book doesn’t lack humour, and the plot is well thought out. It’s fast-paced and one of the ‚unputdownables‘ from this author’s pen.

It’s not a fantasy story, and I wouldn’t say it’s scifi, either, but some sort of Dystopia.

I look forward to listening to the sequels. McLeod Andrews’s narration was fantastic and makes a nice change from Michael Kramer, who narrates most of Branderson’s other books.

Review: Michael J Sullivan – Age of Myth

Michael J. Sullivan: Age of Myth, Recorded Books/audible, 16:56h, € 23,58
Michael J. Sullivan: Age of Myth, Recorded Books/audible edition, 16:56h, € 23,58

 

This book certainly is another burner from Michael J Sullivan. Once I had started listening, I was unable to stop. I was drawn in right from the start, and I can’t wait to listen to the sequels — but I’ll have to be patient for another four months before I can continue with volume 2.

If you’ve read the Riyria Revelations, you’ll recognize a few names, but it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read anything by the author before (although you really should).

Once again, this isn’t just a great story about magic and lore. There’s racism, superstition, prejudices and more the protagonists have to contend with.

Again, we have strong female and male characters alike, a fantastic plot, and some humour (although I think there was more of that in the Riyria Revelations).
I was very happy that Tim Gerard Reynolds is the narrator again, because he does such a fantastic job.
Do yourselves a favour and read or listen to this book, you won’t regret it.

Review: S.J. Parris – Heresy (Audiobook)

S.J. Parris: Heresy; Narrator: Laurence Kennedy; Whole Story Audiobooks; 14:52h; 19,20€ (audible)
S.J. Parris: Heresy; Narrator: Laurence Kennedy; Whole Story Audiobooks; 14:52h; 19,20€ (audible)

This is an amazing book. It’s great mystery, but it is more than that, as it shows us some of the reasons why Catholics and Protestants still don’t see eye to eye in some countries. I could hardly put it down, or better, switch it off.

It has always puzzled me, that people, who have themselves been prosecuted, tortured and killed for their beliefs then go on and do the exact same thing to their fellow humans once they get the chance.
Listening to this book, I very nearly felt sorry for the Catholics, but then the Catholics themselves weren’t any better than the Protestants, and at times, I think they deserved what they got.

The book plays during the reign of queen Victoria after she had chased Mary away — the time is 1583.
Superstitions and Prejudices abound, as well as conspiracy theories.
The historical facts and tidbits of interest are strewn in so inconspicuously that you’ll only notice them as facts if you have some knowledge about the time. Don’t worry if you haven’t, you’ll learn a lot without noticing it.

I really loved the narration, Laurence Kennedy did an amazing job, and I’ll certainly check out other works by both the author (there are sequels) and the narrator.