Friday, January 22, 2010

Wheel of Time: The Re-Read is Over (A Review of The Gathering Storm)

So I feel a little bad about not mentioning it earlier, but my Wheel of Time reread is over. I have also finished reading the newest book, so no more Wheel of Time reading until next November when the Towers of Midnight come out.

So as most Wheel of Time fans know, Brandon Sanderson is finishing the Wheel of Time. For those of you who don't know what that means, it basically means that the latest Wheel of Time book was written by a completely new guy. My thoughts and feelings?

The Gathering Storm.

It was gripping from beginning to end. The characters seemed to be the exact same people I know and love, and trust me since I just finished rereading 11 books about them, I would know if they changed. I'll admit that I judged Mat's few chapters a little harshly and that the first chapter I read about him seemed a little jarring. I can't put my finger on what was wrong, only that that was the first chapter that made me think "This isn't written by Robert Jordan." Undoubtedly, this is because I love Mat. He is my favorite and has been my favorite since I was 11. I drink in chapter's about Mat, and when I read The Path of the Daggers, I wanted to throw it across the room because he wasn't in it (it also took me like twice as long to read). But after I got past my initial jolt, when Mat got into action, I got into the story.

I certainly don't want to ruin the story for anyone with any spoilers so I'll just say that one of the major points in the story is a large character change for the worse in Rand. As Rand is one of my least favorite characters, you would think this wouldn't help me to like him better. Yet I read his sections, sucked in, with complete fascination. My heart broke for this man who was essentially broken by the tasks he knows he must complete and knowledge that if he fails the world is doomed. I found myself wanting to help him - feeling sympathy! That's not something I often feel for Rand Al'Thor. And the end of his storyline in this book was simply breathtaking. I can't wait to read the next book, to know how the events of the end have truly changed him - to see if he really does become a better man.

Egwene and Rand were the two central characters, and I enjoyed reading Egwene's sections as well. (Mat was only in like three chapters). I often forget that Egwene (and Rand for that matter) is now younger than I am. She is such a strong woman! She knows what she wants and she lets nothing deter her from forging the White Tower back together. And in this book Gawaine comes back. I love Egwene and Gawaine's relationship and I want to see them together. I can't wait to see what happens to them in the next book.

I think in general there is on phrase that sums up my reread "I CAN'T WAIT!" I need the next book. Seriously, I have to know what happens. So this is me begging Brandon Sanderson to write faster.

Next November, I will read the next book as soon as I get it. No reread this time. And just imagine, in two years time (possibly) the entire Wheel of Time will end. We'll actually know how everything turns out. I can't wait!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Book Review: Alcatraz versus the Knights of Crystallia

Title: Alcatraz versus the Knights of Crystallia
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Length: 316

Quality Rating: 9
Content Rating: PG

The adventures of Alcatraz, Bastille, and Grandpa Smedry continue, but this time we get a glimpse into the Free Kingdoms (we get to see what we Hushlanders are missing out on). The Librarians have been attempting to create a treaty while Grandpa Smedry was out fetching Alcatraz, and this can only mean one thing: they're up to something! This book, the middle book of the series, begins to detail what Alcatraz might call his fall and hints even more that something terrible happens that Alcatraz blames himself for. It definitely left me waiting for the next book and the next. I want to know what happens to Alcatraz, Bastille, and the rest of the Smedry clan! (Though it should be noted that the sentence isn't meant to indicate that Bastille is a Smedry, because she isn't).

This book definitely gets a PG rating because of fantasy violence, a near cold blood murder, and parental/child tension. When it comes to Alcatraz's parents - well his father just seems to not care and his mother is a Librarian. But still good a good read for older children and those of us who still think we are children.

A Book Review: Alcatraz versus the Scrivener's Bones

Title: Alcatraz versus the Scrivener's Bones
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Length: 322

Quality Rating: 9
Content Rating: PG

This book continues the hilarity and wonderfulness of the Alcatraz series. Alcatraz, Grandpa Smedry, and Bastille all come back as well as new characters. We learn more about the Librarians and the different factions that exist within them, and we feel a foreshadowing that perhaps there is a reason why Alcatraz Smedry thinks he is such a bad person. I read this book in a morning instead of doing homework I really should have been doing, so I highly recommend it to everyone! Especially if you want a quick, enjoyable, and hilarious read. Just don't start with this book. Start with the first book, Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians. Don't say I didn't warn you.

This is rated PG because of fantasy violence and deceptive undead librarians who are trying to convince them to give up their souls. However, it's definitely good for older elementary schoolers who have read beyond their shelves and those of us who still have young hearts.

A Book Review: Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians

Title: Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Length: 308

Quality Rating: 9
Content Rating: PG

Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians isn't really written by Brandon Sanderson and it isn't really fantasy. It's actually an autobiography by Alcatraz Smedry. The reason why its published under a pseudoname and as fantasy is because of the Librarians. You see, there is a conspiracy. And I loved every moment of it. From fighting off creatures created from bad romance novels to discovering that prisons are actually named after the good guys, this book is fantastic for middle schoolers and everyone else. Some of the jokes middle schoolers may not understand, and Sanderson often pokes good fun at the quarks and traditions of fantasy books, but everyone will love it. It's a coming of age story about a boy discovering who he is and the man looking back trying to convince everyone that he's not the hero everyone thinks he is.

This is rated PG because there is fantasy violence and librarians are the bad guys. So I figured that deserved a PG, so young kids don't get confused and think all librarians are evil. Just the ones who are parts of cults, or actually sort of undead. :)