Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The Trouble With Peace


The Trouble With Peace (The Age of Madness, #2)The Trouble With Peace by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Union and the North find themselves at peace with their enemies, but what is peace other than a time to prepare once again for war. Tensions are still high and conspiracies are growing to the point of full on treason. Orso has become king even though many of his people think him a buffoon, Rikke struggles with the long eye, Savine is trying to recover from her ordeal in Valbeck, and Leo just wants to be a hero. As the new generation takes over from the old, there are no lack of problems.

The Trouble with Peace is what I've come to expect from Joe Abercrombie, humanity at it's bleakest. I did find one thing I didn't expect however, me being dismayed by what was happening. I don't know if it was living during a pandemic, but the feeling of hopelessness was bumming me out. I worked through it and enjoyed Abercrombie's nihilistic view of the First Law world.

It's hard reading the various knowing the nature of Abercrombie's writing. A group of individuals who are either already broken and jaded or well on their way to it. I'd split the point of view characters into two camps, those being broken down and those already broken. Those being broken down are Orso, Rikke, and Leo, while the already broken are Clover, Vick, and Broad. It's a tragedy in action yet against all reason I still hold out hope for most of them.

If you aren't familiar with the First Law world and you plan on learning more, then don't continue past this point. This will be jammed full of spoilers from the original trilogy.

In the First Law world some things just are: like the sun, the moon, and the First of the Magi Bayaz. He's a force of nature and betting or battling against him would truly be a mistake in the long run.

Bayaz helped create the Union, but he is also the cause of the Union's problems. Valint and Balk, owned by Bayaz, chokes the Union's resources with interest on loans they forced the Union to take. Without that money the Union couldn't come to aid the North when they battle Stour Nightfall. The interest also made the Union ask for an increase of taxes after the North won the war, leading to trouble. Styria wants to end the threat of Bayaz in all it's forms. Valint and Balk's greed also helped create the Breakers and Burners by placing profit above all else and by his example of complete greed impacting the affluent in the Union. Bayaz reaps all the rewards, takes little personal risk, and rarely assists. When he does assist, there are nearly unbreakable strings attached and as far as the books have shown only death can free most people from Bayaz once his hooks are in them. I'm not saying Bayaz is the devil, but he seems as though he may be the closest thing walking on the First Law world's surface.

Many people of the world want to destroy what Bayaz has built. I do wonder as magic leaks from the world, if the Union will be freed from his influence or if he'll continue to guide the world based on his greed.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Of Darkness and Dawn


Of Darkness and Dawn (The Elder Empire: Shadow, #2)Of Darkness and Dawn by Will Wight
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The strife between the Imperialist Guilds and the Independent Guilds continues. The Regents have also come under attack from individuals with ties to Shera's past. Meanwhile Shera has become a Soulbound. The only trouble is her vessel has a murderous voice that can't tell the difference between friend and foe. It only wants to kill and steal the power of the powerful.

Of Darkness and Dawn proved me wrong. After of Shadow and Sea, I was convinced Shera was merely a sleepy sociopath, but this book made her so much more. She cares for her friends and humanity as a whole even if something isn't quite right with her. Shera being impacted by Syphren also made things incredibly interesting. Adding Jorin Curse-breaker to the story was a great addition as well. Jorin is a powerful man out of time who still cares for the world.

The flashbacks were excellent in showing the Emperor. The view of the Emperor is quite opposite in the Shadow side of the series than the Sea side. While Calder and his companions see the Emperor as a callous man who behaves like a Great Elder, Shera and her friends see a powerful man who cares for humanity more than his own well being. The Emperor came to life with the flashbacks and I can't help but pity the man.

I still have an issue with how Will Wight chose to split the series up into 6 shorter books rather than 3 longer ones. I absolutely abhor going through lengthy scenes in a different book from a different perspective. That's not exclusive to this series, I don't like it in any book if it's more than a tiny flashback. That being said I really enjoy Will Wight's writing which is the only reason I gave this parallel story a chance. It went well with this book, because outside of one pivotal moment, the book avoids retreading any aspect significantly.

So I'd say Of Darkness and Dawn was better than Of Dawn and Darkness. I'd say after two books the Sea and Shadow are tied. The Sea side of the story was better than it's parallel companion in the first set of stories. I'm looking forward to seeing if I enjoy Of Killers and Kings more than it's parallel story.

3.5 out of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Sufficiently Advanced Magic

Sufficiently Advanced Magic (Arcane Ascension, #1)Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Cadence family live in a land where people gain power from their goddess. They go on trials to gain the mark of power called an attunement. Tristan Cadence went for his trial five years ago and never returned. Now his younger brother Corin is heading for his trials with the goal of not only gaining an attunement, but also finding his brother.

Sufficiently Advanced Magic has more over explaining than any book I've come across in some time. Every thing that happens Corin explains during or afterwards. He doesn't explain it interesting in compelling ways, he just keeps babbling on. It reminds me of my daughter when she's so excited she talks endlessly on a subject even if I'm already familiar with it. Since I'm not a monster, I have to listen to her, but I don't have to be beaten down with this books explanations. Honestly I had expectations for cool advancements and excellent fights, but it was largely just info dump like explanations.

In the end, Sufficiently Advanced Magic just wasn't a book for me.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

It Wasn't Your Fault


It Wasn't Your Fault: Freeing Yourself from the Shame of Childhood Abuse with the Power of Self-CompassionIt Wasn't Your Fault: Freeing Yourself from the Shame of Childhood Abuse with the Power of Self-Compassion by Beverly Engel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wasn't looking for It Wasn't Your Fault, this book found me. As soon as I read the full title I realized I needed to read it and I picked it up at the library later that same day. I wish I didn't need to read this book and I wish no one ever needed to read it. Unfortunately I and many others did need to read it.

On a positive note I found It Wasn't Your Fault particularly helpful as it put a spotlight on some deep-seated internal pain I didn't know existed. At times I feel so alone in my pain and as though no one can understand how I feel. When I read a book like this one, I never cease to be amazed that a book can tell me so much about the hurt I kept quiet for far too many years.

If the full title, It Wasn't Your Fault: Freeing Yourself from the Shame of Childhood Abuse with the Power of Self-Compassion, has an undeniable tug on your heart, then I'd recommend you read it to the end and apply whatever you may need.

View all my reviews