Winter’s Heart Read Along Part III

WintersHeartBannerWelcome everyone to the continuation of The Wheel of Time saga. Here we are with Book 9, Winter’s Heart. As always, anyone is welcome to join us, so check out the schedule if you would like to do so.

Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia with the non-spoilery fan art is our host this week. Make sure to swing by there and congratulate Liesel on moving in to a new place this weekend. Eivind, our commenter with an encyclopediac knowledge of WoT, can be found in the comments at Liesel’s. Don’t forget to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers for in-depth analysis.

This week we covered Chapters 8-11. Spoilers are having a party below!

1. The Aes Sedai with Elayne and Nynaeve are trying to convince the Seanchan sul’dam that they can channel themselves and then send them back to Seanchan. Do you think this tactic will work to help bring down the Seanchan empire?

If there were lots and lots of time, yes, I think this idea would help bring down the Seanchan by undermining their command structure. However, as we have seen, the Seanchan are very committed to their command/caste structure and I think it takes something extraordinary to even get a Seanchan to consider an action or belief outside what they have known their whole lives.

And I think Randland is going to need a swift solution to the Seanchan issue as they are very, very efficient at conquering.

2. It seems the Borderlanders are on the borders of Andor. We last saw the leaders making a pact in the Borderlands. What do you think they’re up to and what does it have to do with Andor?

Is this Queen Tenoibia and crew? If so, I think we saw these folks at the beginning of the last book. I think they are pissed that they haven’t been invited to any of the big parties yet, the ones where they decide the fate of Randland. I liken this to Boromir from The Lord of the Rings and his speech about how the lands of the elves, the hobbits, and most men are kept safe by the blood of those living on the border to Mordor.

Or I could be completely off about that, in which case, I am sure someone will educate me. ;)

Aren’t some of the folks blaming Rand for this? And it’s not his doing, poor thing. I think these folks will demand to see him though. I can just see Rand wincing over this one. :)

3. Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne meet in the World of Dreams and there are several people spying on them. Who do you think the multiple eavesdroppers are and what are their plans. Did they hear anything that might be damning to our girls?

Well, we know one lady (who stayed hidden) is working under Moghedien’s orders. She reported some of back to these other ladies (and I have obviously forgotten all their names). I suspect these ladies to be Black Ajah and I think they are in Andor.

The man who resembled Rand didn’t seem proficient in moving about Tel’aran’rhiod. Perhaps it was someone trying to look like Rand (as we know one can change their appearance in T’A’R). So maybe it is one of the Asha’men trying their hand at moving through the World of Dreams while in disguise.

Then there was another lady glimpsed who quickly disappeared. Could have been one of the Forsaken, as she disappeared easily.

And yes, openly discussing that not all the Aes Sedai, especially amongst the rebels, are Oathsworn could be an issue. This little tidbit lets the forces of evil know there are several Channelers open to swearing to a dark lord. Also, if this got out to the Randland leaders, then would any of them trust Aes Sedai in general, ever again? Folks trust Aes Sedai, at least to some extent, because they supposedly cannot lie, nor use powers to maim and kill unless attacked or defending others. Not having those oaths in place makes them very human, but with super powers.

4. Newly captained Mellor is Daved Hanlon! Ahhh! What does this mean? What are he and “Lady” Shiane up to?

Well Hanlon was taked with going after a Queen, and it looks like it is Queen Elayne that he is poised to strike at a moment’s notice. I think Shiane takes orders from a Forsaken and she passes those orders on to Hanlon. I don’t know if they intend kidnap capers or outright death. When (or should I say ‘if’?) Elayne becomes queen, I can see Andor being thrown into turmoil by the sudden death of their queen.

5. At the end of chapter 11, Nynaeve has a “plan” that neither Rand or Lan are too fond of. What do you think it is? Predictions?

I think Nynaeve has been thinking about Rand’s ambitions for cleansing saidin. How could she not be intrigued by this? Of course she wants to do this as it would save so many men from going mad, and possibly heal some that have already gone mad.

And I predict, that once the bad guys figure out what Rand and Nynaeve are up to, they will try very, very hard to stop it. After all, one of the few things the Dark One has to over good men who happen to be Channelers is the ability to keep them sane. Remove that bargaining chip, and recruiting goes down.

6. We might finally get Rand, Min, Aviendha, and Elayne in the same room together. Predictions?

Ah, well, Min left Rand on his own in disguise to deliver his message to Nynaeve. I expect Min ran off to fetch Aviendha and Elayne. I don’t think it will be the foursome I am hoping for as these books are pretty PG.

First, I expect each of them to tell Rand what an idiot he is. Then he will protest that he protecting them, tell them how precious they are. Each will then assert that she can take care of herself, thank you very much. He will point out how he is such a good guy and has kept Elayne’s seat warm for her, has obeyed Aviendha’s rules about avoiding impure thoughts of her naked body, and tell Min she looks great in pants and he would never want her to give them up. This will lead to blushes all around and finally hugs and tears on the ladies’ parts and bafflement on Rand’s part. Eventually, he might get to kiss each one in turn behind a curtain, because he is shy about such things. Then he will leave with Nynaeve to go save the world. Elayne will cross her arms and tap her foot. Min will huff and throw herself in a chair and idly carve love notes into the chair arm with her dagger. Aveindha will break down and tell the other two that she is pregnant.

Or something like that. ;)

The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.

The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.

Other Tidbits

I am not sure I agree with Egwene about the Oaths being necessary, though I can see why she wants them in place, at least for now. People already have huge trust issues where Aes Sedai are concerned.

And I also don’t agree with Egwene about the Kin being lower in the pecking order than the Aes Sedai. Arrogance does not suit her!

I guess Lady Dyelin showed her true colors by protecting Elayne with her little lady’s belt knife. I guess I have to take her off the Maybe Bad List.

We had some great descriptions of Lan in this section….but is it just me, or has Lan gotten bigger, more muscley? He’s always been great with a sword, but I thought earlier descriptions had him rangey. Now he has the shoulders of a blacksmith.

Words of Radiance Read Along Part III

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! We’ve returned with another installment of the Words of Radiance Read Along.  Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE. Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings and I swapped weeks, so we’ll see him hosting next week.

This week, I am our host, so make sure to leave your link in the comments.

This week we cover Chapter16 through the end of Chapter 28. Spoilers abound below!

1) We have a new character on the scene: Zahel, a swordmaster. What do you think of his interest in Kaladin?

Zahel might very well turn out to be a favorite character. I like how he handles Renarin, giving him simple training at first and praising his efforts. I like how he handles Adolin, telling him he is a dumbass for tossing a non-Shardbearer around the training yard.

And I really like how he sees the potential in Kaladin. Prior to Zahel entering the story, I thought Kaladin would be forced to reveal his powers fighting Szeth or the Parshendi. Now I think it might happen while sparring Zahel, or Zahel will guess. Or Kaladin will get in a pissing contest with Adolin and he will start to glow Stormlight.

2) We learned a bit more about Shallan’s past. What do you think her brother Heralan was doing all those years ago, coming and going as he did, and where did his Shardblade come from?

There is so much we don’t know about Shallan and her family. Perhaps Heralan was the one who started working with the secret order (brotherhood? I forget what they are are called) and that is where he got the Shardblade. And then perhaps he had to go run errands for them. Maybe later on, his efforts with this brotherhood go the family the fabrial. Anyway, that is my best guess.

3) What do you think of Shallan’s recent actions with the caravans? How about her growing friendship with Tyn? And her first interaction with Kaladin?

Shallan is turning into a badass character and I like it! I love how she convinced the deserters to be heroes once again, how she took Tvlak’s slaves in ‘payment’ for his life. She is really learning how to be assertive and to use confidence to mask her fears. Oh, and to use her powers to glamor herself up so others are awed by her.

Her friendship with tyn is built on some major assumptions (by Tyn) and a few lies, or at least hidden truths (by Shallan). So I am not sure it will last long. Tyn seems to be able to roll with the punches, but once she realizes that Shallan is exactly who she said she is, I am not sure Tyn will stick around for long.

Haha! The meeting between Shallan and Kaladin was one of my favorites for this week. Boots!

4) Kaladin took Syl’s advice and confided in Dalinar concerning Amaram. What do you think Dalinar will do with this information?

Yikes! I so want to believe Dalinar will do the right thing. But if he has to way the right thing for Kaladin versus the right thing for the kingdom, I am pretty sure the kingdom will come out on top. I am a little surprised that Kaladin decided to confide in Dalinar so soon after his chat with Syl. I expected more hand-wringing over it. After all, Kaladin has HUGE trust issues.

I am not sure how Dalinar can investigate this matter without tipping off Amaram that he is looking into it. So, either way, he has to confront Amaram – either up front or after the investigation begins. Could get ugly, and at a time when Dalinar needs all the support he can get. Yeah, Kaladin’s concerns may be pushed to back burner.

5) There has been yet another attempt on the King’s life. Do you think this is another faked attempt (as Ehlokar did with the saddle girth in Book 1)? If not, who do you think is the most likely culprit?

My first inclination was to to think that Elhokar faked this assassination attempt in order to test his current group of body guards. I haven’t completely dismissed this suspicion. In fact, I think I need Dalinar to kick the king around a bit before I do let go of this suspicion.

But then I thought that it would be a little obvious, right? Wouldn’t that be one of the first things Dalinar would consider? And yet, it didn’t come up. Hmm…..

It appears to be someone who had access to the balcony after the highstorm and who also had a Shardblade. Unless Moash has been hiding a Shardblade in his trousers, I doubt it is him. Perhaps one of the king’s guards who train with the king’s Shardblades?

6) Gaz has returned to the story, after having mysteriously dropped out in Book 1. What do you think he isn’t telling Shallan? How do you think the men of Bridge 4 will react upon seeing him again?

Wow! I had wondered where Gaz had gotten off to, but I didn’t expect this. Desertion takes some balls and I was pretty sure Gaz’s had been removed long ago.

Shallan questioned Gaz about his debts and suspected gambling at the root. Gaz said he rather be turned over to the authorities and kind of walked off. It seems that whatever the cause of his debts, he doesn’t want to tell Shallan about it. Could Gaz be protecting someone? Or is that a little too noble for him. Maybe it is an old family debt and he is embarrassed by it, or a brother’s gambling debts, etc. At any rate, I really look forward to learning more about Gaz.

I am not sure how Bridge 4 will react. Before Gaz disappeared, he and Kaladin kind of had a truce going. So maybe Gaz can earn their respect. It seems most of the men know what it is like to make the bad decision, to feel ashamed, and they have come out the other side, becoming worthy men. So hopefully, they can see that potential in Gaz.

7) Eshonai and Adolin had a brief chat on the Shattered Plains. What will come of it? How will the Parshendi ever get a messenger to Dalinar?

Yet another unexpected turn, at least for me. Right now, only Adolin knows of Eshonai’s request. If he passes it on to Dalinar, I expect that Dalinar will leap on it. But will Adolin pass it on? People already have doubts about Dalinar. If Dalinar starts accepting Parshendi messengers into his camp, what will the other Highprinces do? I can see Adolin having heartburn over this one and keeping it close to his chest while he mulls it over.

I can see the Parshendi using their Dull Form spies to get a meeting time and location (probably somewhere on the Shattered Plains) to Dalinar. Of course, Adolin would counsel that it could be a trap.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

Gaz was a source of amusement this week with Shallan’s quip about his breath, and then later Gaz’s quip about tongues!

I didn’t realize how attached I was to Bluth until he exited the story. :(

Those pesky numbers showed up again after the latest Highstorm. I am starting to suspect the red lightning spren we hear about in small bits.

Gaz was the first to take Shallan up on her offer and run off to help the caravaners. Gaz! Of all people!

My Fellow Horneaters:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

Coffee, Cookies, & Chili Peppers

Books Without Any Pictures

Making My Mark

Stainless Steel Droppings

The Sekhmet Bed by L. M. Ironside

IronsideSekhmetBedWhy I Read It: Ancient Egypt has long fascinated me, so this looked like a great historical fiction to become lost in.

Where I Got It: A review copy from the author via Audiobook Jukebox (thanks!).

Who I Recommend This To: Ancient Egyptian buffs will find this book entertaining.

Narrator: Amanda C. Miller

Publisher: Libbie M. Grant (2013)

Length: 9 hours and 18 minutes

Series: Book 1 The She-King

Author’s Page

Ahmose was raised to be a priestess, to be a dream interpreter. But life takes a turn when the Pharaoh dies and her mother and grandmother chose her to be the Great Royal Wife. Wedded to a soldier, Thutmose, her God Chosen status gives him a bit of legitimacy. However, Mutnofret, Ahmose’s elder sister, holds a long-simmering resentment for being passed up; she was raised to be the Great Royal Wife, not Second Wife.

L. M. Ironside tells this tale with depth, lush settings, and interesting characters. From the beginning, I was attached to Ahmose. She’s thrown into a difficult situation at such a young age, given great responsibility, and has to face many opponents (including her own sister!). Early on, she witnesses a birth that does not go well and thus, one of her greatest fears is childbirth. This fear shapes some of her important decisions, thereby shaping not only her life, but those around her.

I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptive scenes of ceremonies. Of course, there was the wedding feast of Thutmose to his two brides. There are also several religious ceremonies, especially once we see God’s Own Wife, a title granted to a woman who then has much power over the priesthood. These scenes were told so clearly that I felt like I was a spectator there enjoying the ceremony.

There’s chariot rides. Yep. I have been tempted to build a chariot for me and my donkeys, but never seem to get around to it. So I live vicariously when I can through books with chariot rides.

Of course there is romance. Ahmose and her sister, Mutnofret, vie for Thutmose’s affections. Unfortunately, this also increases the tension between the sisters. Through these two plot devices, we see sorrow and loss, hope and love. Thuthmose is often gone on one military campaign or another. Most of the time, he leaves one sister pregnant and the other to run the country. Rumors spread of secret lover, adding to the tension. There was this one poignant scene that involved rain and the disapproval of the gods.

My one small criticism is that I wish we could have seen more of the governing that went on while Thutmose was off shoving spears into one disagreeable group or another. Ahmose and Mutnofret are young (in their teens) when they start running the country. It must have been intense for them. We have one brief scene that is more about the power play between the two sisters rather than governing. Nearly all the interactions between the sisters concerns a man, and we have so many other issues that could be discussed.

The Narration: Amanda Miller was a great choice for the voice of Ahmose. She was young and innocent at first, but gradually became more confident and firmer in her decisions. Miller was able to portray this shift in the character’s voice. I also enjoyed her voice for Mutnofret (who was most times condescending). While her male voices could use a bit more masculinity, they were still distinct and I had not trouble discerning one character from another.

What I Liked: The setting; each character grew throughout the story; the gods are real in Ahmose’s visions; great use of ceremonies; the cover; chariot rides.

What I Disliked: I would have liked a bit more on the governing of the country, since it did take up a good chunk of Ahmose’s life.

What Others Think:

Historical Novel Society

Diane Dooley

Just Wondering

Scroll of a Modern Scribe

Historical Novel Review

Blatant Deception by Mary Jo Fay

FayBlatantDeceptionWhy I Read It: I thought it would be a fun thriller.

Where I Got It: A review copy from the author (thanks!).

Who I Recommend This To: Readers who enjoy the faked ID theme in a cat & mouse game that involves sex scenes.

Publisher: Out of the Boxx Publishing (2013)

Length: 442 pages

Series: The story ends with a cliffhanger, so I expect this is only Book 1.

Author’s Page

Claudia is an accomplished woman. She is educated and has her own psychology practice. She pays her bills, has a car, and a little dog (Max). She fought her demons and won, and now uses those childhood horrors to help other women recover from traumatic relationships and/or sexual violence. Yet she lacks a serious love interest. So she surfs the dating sites, including Craig’s List. Jonathan Fardy is a single, middle-aged real estate agent who likes to mess with women’s emotions from the safety of a faked ID via computer. He comes across Claudia’s posting and decides she would be a worthy opponent. The game is on and Claudia has even noticed.

This wasn’t the story for me. It started off decently with a good set up of each character and the basis for the plot. But then it dragged on too long. I felt that many of the passages were repetitive. Often the reader would read one of Claudia’s or Jonathan-writing-as-Diego’s letters as the character was composing the letter, only to have to reread the letter again in the next chapter as the recipient read the email. I can see that this was done to show each character’s thoughts as they either composed or received a message, but it did drag the story a bit.

The first fifth or quarter of the book had suspense. I knew what Jonathan Fardy was up to, but Claudia didn’t and I wanted her to figure it out. But once I got past that initial story setup, and I was privy to all the moves by both characters, the suspense petered out. The book became predictable for me.

Claudia herself held much promise as a character. I like that she is renting and in between places – her life isn’t set in stone. Her dog Max is her faithful companion. She faced her childhood trauma and decided to give back to the world by helping others that faced similar situations. And yet…..Well, this book is about her love life. Period. We catch little glimpses of this professional career she has, but only in relation to her love life. Either she is concerned how a man will see her once they know what she does professionally, or she is bored by her clients and can’t wait to get back to her computer to check out the next sexy email from the mysterious Diego. When she does talk to the handful of female side characters, it is about men and love lives instead of something substantive. I started off liking this character, but then lost interest.

The ending was not satisfying. SPOILER ALERT Claudia’s house is vandalized and she has an idea that it is tied to the mysterious Diego. She stays over at a friend’s house, has another friend pack a bag for her, and she flies off to Cozumel for three weeks. Instead of facing her problems, she runs away. I get that she is shocked, horrified, and embarrassed. But I had to wonder where her professional side went off to. Here is a person in serious need of 1) being locked up and 2) therapy. I really, really wanted her professional side to kick in and help catch the guy and then, perhaps, even see that he got some help. But, no. Our main character flees. Sigh…..END SPOILER.

Now let me tell you about the sex scenes. There were several erotic dream/memory sequences and erotic emails. Normally I quite enjoy these bits, especially set within an interesting plot line. However, since I wasn’t emotionally attached to the characters, these scenes didn’t do much for me. I can tell you that they are well written and detailed. I will even say that some of them are educational. ;)

In short, I think this tale would have been much more powerful if it had been edited down a bit, maybe even to novella size. At 442 pages, with all the repetition and lack of suspense, I found it a bit of a chore to chew through.

What I Liked: Max the dog; initial suspense; set up of characters.

What I Disliked: The repetition; the suspense petered out pretty quickly; I was not attached to the characters; the ending was not satisfying.

Winter’s Heart Read Along Part II

WintersHeartBannerWelcome everyone to the continuation of The Wheel of Time saga. Here we are with Book 9, Winter’s Heart. As always, anyone is welcome to join us, so check out the schedule if you would like to do so.

This week, I am our host this week. Eivind, our commenter with an encyclopediac knowledge of WoT, can be found in the comments. Don’t forget to swing by Sue’s at Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers for in-depth analysis and Liesel’s at Musings on Fantasia for non-spoilery fan art.

This week we covered Chapters 3-7. Spoilers are having a party below!

1) What did everyone make of the Shaido’s treatment of Faile, Maighdin, Alliandre, Bain, Chiad, Lacile, and Arrela during the march through the snow? Harsh? As expected?

At first, this made sense. It is much, much harder for captives to get all uppity and host ideas of escaping if they are trussed up naked and forced to march through the snow. But then things got a little weird. We had Faile being carried over Rolan’s shoulder and repeatedly slapped on the ass – and her deepest thoughts liking it because it kept her awake (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). We had two of the ladies thrown naked into the snow and switched, leaving red stripes on creamy white buttocks. Uh…..yeah. Totally the wet dream of 13-30 year old males. If we had a few males captives that received the same treatment, I could have lent this scene more credence. As it stands, I think it was written to appeal to a certain segment of the fans.

Why don’t we take a moment and picture some of the guys naked, trussed, and marching through the snow. They have learned to ignore their nudity and are just focused on surviving. But now they are faltering. Do the Shaido sling them over their shoulders and carry them the rest of the way? Do the men balk at it? Do they scream and contort as they get switched? Do they learn to like the slaps on the ass because it helps keep them awake?  Hmm…..Well, I know who I pictured for this scene. Who did you picture? ;)

2) Faile and crew meet the Shaido Wise Ones (Therava & Someryn) and also the Aes Sedai Galina. What do you think of the Wise Ones speaking so openly of Sevanna’s orders? Will Galina be of any help to Faile?

I was a bit surprised that the Wise Ones were so openly disparaging Sevanna’s plans to take so many captives. I wonder if this is a reflection of the huge level of dissent among the troops, or is it a reflection of Aiel culture – meaning that the Aiel don’t expect gaishan to make anything of their comments, good or bad, about the leadership. It’s build into the Aiel culture that the gaishan are completely subservient, so they might feel 100% comfortable discussing nearly anything around them.

Or they might be ready to gut Sevanna themselves.

If Galina does help Faile and crew, I expect it will come at a high price. I do have to say I am a little concerned that Faile and crew will botch any escape attempt and have to pay a steep price for it. Galina knows this and I don’t think she will lightly risk her hide to help Faile (even if Galina stayed behind).

3) It seems that Berelain is taking advantage of Faile’s absence and Perrin’s fatigue. Where do you think her flirtations will take her? Given the chance, what would you do with her at this point?

In general, I don’t agree with hitting people in the face (unless it is a bit of slap to bring them out of some hysteria or to keep them from sticking a knife in someone you care about), but I may just make an exception in Berelain’s case. And I think Perrin should be the first allowed to smack her.

As to what it will get her? I am not sure what she is playing for. Is it simple lust? Does she think that Perrin has lands and armies to offer Berelain and her country? She would have a stronger alliance in Faile if only she could make friends with her, but I can’t see that happening after this last bout of stupidity. Perrin isn’t going to want to bed her, even if she manages to break him and Faile apart.

Perhaps the Aes Sedai could lend her a smooth white rod? ;)

4) They are on the hunt! Talanvor left on his own to pursue the Shaido hours ahead of Perrin and crew. Perrin had to chastise the Cha Faile for their spying activities. The Asha’men want to lead the charge. Add to that, Masema offering to assist. Will Perrin’s anger explode? How can this hunt possibly be derailed?

So many possibilities! For entertainment’s sake, let’s say Talanvor finds the Shaido first, but decides to try to rescue the ladies all on his own instead of heading back and getting reinforcements. So he ends up captured and forced to walk naked in the snow, trussed in his own pants. Maybe he will even get switched or carried like a sack of grain. We can only hope, as we have heard how handsome he is.

I expect the Cha Faile will totally forget they promised to follow Perrin’s orders as soon as they catch sight of the Shaido. They are not thoroughly trained as warriors, not like the Aiel, and I expect plenty of blundering into the Shaido, ending in them being captured too. Meanwhile, the Asha’men are teleporting all over the area scouting for the Shaido. They may have some success and it would be interesting if one or two of them actually teleported directly into the Shaido camp. They may even kill a few Shaido before teleporting out or being killed. This should stir the pot.

Then we got Masema and crew who are fanatical idiots. I am sure they will find some reason to hate the Shaido and therefore, want to eradicate them from the face of Randland (for the good of the Dragon Reborn, may the light illumine his name for all eternity!). At this point, I think Perrin should lead a group of his Aiel into the fray and quietly and quickly collect all the people they want left alive and remove them to some hilltop to watch the fracas.

5) The men escorting Naean and Elenia were ambushed and killed outside Caemlyn. What do you think this portends? Will Elayne be able to unite the houses behind her or is this move the first of several by houses against her? Should the ladies be more concerned about defenses instead of clothing?

It didn’t sound like Naean and Elenia were killed, so I am guessing they were either freed and helped away or captured for whatever info they can give on Elayne and the current state of Caemlyn. Is Elenia one of those ladies who came on to Rand and then had to explain to him how she is not related (at least not even closely) to Elayne?

Anyway, sounds like someone wanted these two free of Elayne – and probably so that they can go against Elayne. I know Elayne is concerned that not all the house are for her, so I am expecting at the least some major political pushing and shoving, and at worst some kind of rebellion, even civil war. Knowing that we still have so many books, I am leaning towards the later.

And, yeah, if I can be concerned over the possibility of civil war, than Elayne can too….which means a focus on defenses is needed instead of forcing her most trusted friends (and now guards) into ‘proper’ attire.

The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.

The Wheel of Time, bringing angry cats together again and again.

Other Tidbits

Is Someryn (one of Sevanna’s Wise Ones) the one with the hawk nose? Is this suppose to be the hawk that Min sees around Perrin? Is she and Faile going to hook up and become the best of friends?

Haha! When master Gil was going on about Perrin sampling from too many dishes and Perrin pointed out that he had not even had breakfast, I had to laugh. Giggling over that aside, I was a little sad at how easily people believed Perrin had been dabbling in Berelain, even against his protests.

That short scene with Perrin as a wolf was great. Really enjoyed the switch from wolf-Perrin to groggy, confused, angry, naked Perrin.

Words of Radiance Read Along Part II

SandersonWordsOfRadianceBannerWelcome everyone! We’ve returned with another installment of the Words of Radiance Read Along.  Want to join us? Everyone is welcome. Just check out the schedule post over HERE.

This week, Lisa is our host, so make sure to swing by her place (Over The Effing Rainbow) to see her answers and links to everyone’s posts.

This week we cover Chapter 9 through the end of Chapter 15. Spoilers abound below!

1) We learn a bit more about Syl and her connection to Kaladin, and that there are more spren out there, “trying…to reclaim what was lost”. Yet Syl was forbidden to come, and chose to do it anyway. What do you make of this new information?

It sounds like Syl risked an awful lot in coming – not only in the disapproval of whoever/whatever forbade her to come, but also in possibly loosing herself for good and being trapped as a simple Wind Spren for eternity. One of the things that I found particularly interesting was that Syl mentioned that she was one a Wind Spren and Kaladin contradicts her, saying that she is Honor Spren. I think that Kal (and most humans) believe that Spren are one kind and one kind only – they can’t switch from one kind to another. But based on what Syl said, I now wonder.

2) Chapter 10 is brief, but creepy! It looks like Shallan was responsible for her mother’s death, among others, when she was young. What are your thoughts on this scene?

On the surface, Shallan seems like such a simple, even happy, person. She does take everything in stride, perhaps is a bit gullible. Then we get a scene like this. Shallan is really into repressing heavy shit, ain’t she?

I know this is just my impression on the matter, but I think perhaps Shallan’s father had been pushing or training Shallan from a young age to manifest and use her Shardblade. I have to wonder how much of this scene was Shallan doing something wrong, versus her trainer forcing too much on her too soon. I expect we will get more of this story sooner or later and that it will not be simple. We already know that Shallan’s father was a control freak, one of her brothers died in some accident (am I remembering that right?), and at least one of her brothers is a sadist.

3) Highlord Amaram is back, and still has Kaladin’s Shardblade. He also seems to be close friends with Dalinar. Do you think Kaladin will tell Dalinar what really happened between him and Amaram? If so, what do you think might happen?

Well, this is awkward! I expect all sorts of angst for Kaladin and plenty of entertainment for me. If Dalinar puts Amaram in close proximity to Kaladin for some reason, or even orders Kaladin to temporarily take orders from Amaram, I think the shit may very well hit the fan (as opposed to being cooked up for High Lord Sadeas by Rock). I don’t think Kaladin trusts Dalinar enough to tell him the full truth of the matter just yet. However, Amaram may confess it in a moment of surprise or fear (like if Kaladin is holding a blade to his neck).

In Book 1, Amaram seemed sorrowful at the ‘need’ to kill all of Kaladin’s men and brand him as a slave, while taking the Shardblade for his own. He spoke of some greater need. I think Kaladin needs to hear what that greater need is. So if there is some type of confrontation, I expect Amaram will have to explain this. Beyond that, I am not sure. I wouldn’t be sad if Kaladin killed Amaram, but once Kaladin hears the reason, he may not take his life.

4) We get an Interlude, and more, with one of the Parshendi – the Shardbearer who fought Dalinar, a woman named Eshonai. We finally get a real look at the Parshendi and learn a bit about what they’re doing on the Shattered Plains. What are your thoughts on this?

Wow! I loved learning about the Parshendi. Of course, it creates a kind of sweet anxiety too for me as the reader. Now I know things about the Parshendi that would be very helpful to Dalinar (who wants to try to understand them a bit) but of course, i can’t tell him.

I found the whole thing about the different Forms very interesting. In fact, it made me think a little of the Spren and what Syl said about once being a Wind Spren. Eshonai’s observations on humans and that they are always in Mate Form, and how it may cloud their thinking, was funny. It seems they lost some knowledge a long time ago and are rediscovering some forms (like Nimble Form). Perhaps after the last Desolation, all known Parshendi were enslaved and became what is known as Parshmen. And perhaps some Parshmen broke away from humans several generations back and the Parshendi were birthed anew as they rediscovered a few forms.

The Storm Form sounds dangerous. Perhaps we will finally see why Jasnah thought the Parshmen were once called Voidbringers? Could be very exciting, and deadly. This could be the thing that brings Kaladin’s secrets out in the open.

It appears that they don’t have a Scholar Form or Artist Form, and yet, really, really want these forms. I am not sure why. And it seems they need to attract the right kind of Spren because one of them can transform into that desired Form. It’s all very interesting.

5) We also learn that Eshonai wants to speak with Dalinar and sue for peace. Do you think that’s likely to happen?

I think Dalinar’s vision voice (Unite them!) wants the humans and the Parshendi united to face some greater foe. Of course, Dalinar hasn’t come around to my way of thinking yet. And it looks like Eshonai just wants peace or a truce anyway, just to let her people live. She’s not looking for an alliance. What we need is a bigger, uglier, vastly more dangerous foe in order to get these two peoples talking to each other and allying. Will that happen this book? I am guessing no. Will there be a chance or two for some words to be exchanged? I hope so. I want to see Dalinar and perhaps Shallan or Kaladin wondering about the Parshendi.

6) Adolin’s first duel doesn’t exactly go as anyone expected… What did you make of how it was won? Do you think it will force people to take Adolin, and by extension Dalinar, more seriously?

I’m not too sure what came over Adolin, but I was glad to see him treat this bout like a one-on-one war. After all, they are in a war. If that fight had happened on the field, it would have been quick and brutal (just as Adolin performed it). I think Adolin might have grown up another notch. Perhaps he can show the other nobles that fighting is not a game, but is a brutal action taken for some higher purpose? Or perhaps I am asking too much of the talented peacock…….

It will take a while for folks to take the Kholins seriously. Until recently, Dalinar and Jasnah were the serious ones – and Jasnah was off on her research and Dalinar has these visions that allow people to write him off. Adolin is best known for his ability to strut like a peacock, Renarin is seen as a physical weakling, Navani is something of a flirt, and Elhokar is nitwit. With Adolin finally showing a serious side, we shall see.

Oh! And he gave Renarin the won Shardblade! That was nice, though I am not sure what Renarin will do with it.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Tofu actually believes he is hiding behind this book.

Other Tidbits:

Shallan manages to rescue herself (with the help of the sea beastie) and some of Jasnah’s belongings. Of course, she’s stuck with slave traders for now. I wonder where this precarious adventure will take her…..

Rysin was quite daring in her trading efforts. Unfortunately, it might have cost her the ability to walk. And was that the tattooed guy, hanging upside down, who was studying all sorts of Spren (what was the inebriation spren he categorized?) in Book 1?

Haha! Sigzil does have a bit of humor – making Rock hang from the stuck rocks just for fun. And that sparring scene between Kaladin and the guys was great, especially when Rock attacked him with a tree!

Shallan lost nearly all her drawings, except for the one of Jasnah that was safely stored in Jasnah’s trunk. I still wonder if there is something more to Shallan’s drawings. Could she possibly capture a piece of a person and imbue the paper with that? Is there any hope that even a small piece of Jasnah is left on this plane of existence to help guide Shallan?

My Fellow Storm Forms:

Musings on Fantasia

Lynn’s Book Blog

Over the Effing Rainbow

Books Without Any Pictures

Making My Mark

Stainless Steel Droppings

Coffee, Cookies, and Chili Peppers

Rise to Power by Uvi Poznansky

PoznanskyRiseToPowerWhy I Read It: I really enjoyed Poznansky’s Twisted so decided to check out her historical fiction.

Where I Got It: A review copy from the author (thanks!).

Who I Recommend This To: Those interested in 1st-2nd century BC history, and/or bible stories told from a secular point of view.

Narrator: David George

Publisher: Self-published (2014)

Length: 7 hours and 38 minutes

Series: Book 1 The David Chronicles

Author’s Page

The story opens with an old king, one who has had his claws and fangs pulled. Indeed, he is not a particularly impressive specimen. Through the course of one night, his memory flashes back to younger days. David started off as a court entertainer – a poet, a dancer, a harp player. But then one decision after another leads David down a road of tough choices, choices that often lead to blood. Set in the land of Israel in the 1st or 2nd century BC, we watch as David rises in power, watch as that power is snatched away, and then watch as David claws that power back.

This story was new to me as I am not religious, though I am pretty certain that the life of David is chronicled in the Christian and Hebrew bibles. So some of you may already be familiar with many of the details of this story. Even I, who lives under a rock, had heard the tale of David versus Goliath. I have to admit that my overall ignorance of David and his deeds added to my pleasure in discovering this tale through this book. except for the David versus Goliath fight, I had no idea what would happen to David. So, yes I fretted over him.

He started off so simple and care-free. He was a court entertainer and a bit of a ladies’ man. A young lad soon to be a man who had little a need to be noticed. Of course, the King (King Saul) offers him a daughter’s hand in marriage for defeating Goliath. This turns out to be a bit of a ruse and David ends up with another daughter. But don’t worry, later in the story he collects a few more wives. He has plenty of companionship in the bedroom. Just as he has plenty of conflict in the king’s court and later in the battlefield.

David is a complicated guy. He starts off on a bit of a lark, off for adventure. Then marriage and court intrigue send him into a series of conflicts that bloody his hands. By the end of the book, we have a very different picture of David. I am not sure I like the man he turned into, even as I am sure that I am quite intrigued by him. The ending left me ready for the sequel in the series, wanting to know if David can redeem himself of his misdeeds, or if I am going to want to behead him.

My few criticisms are small, as I quite enjoyed my time with this book. The first partly stems from my own cultural and (perhaps) historical ignorance. There is a scene where David must collect the foreskins of 100 Philistines. Now I assume that the only way to do that is to convert the uncut men to Judaism, and part of that conversion means the willing circumcision. The other option is to kill the Philistine men and then collect their foreskins. I can only imagine that would be a grisly task left to servants and they would probably do it quickly, so there might be a few extra tips thrown in with the foreskins. Ugh! Oh, and these were a wedding present. As you can see, I had to make some assumptions there as to why David would be tasked with foreskin collection duty.

The other criticism is that the ladies are mostly wives and sex objects. We’re told one lady (Abigail, I think) is particularly clever, but in the few lines she had, I did not see it. The ladies don’t seem to have anything other than David to talk about, so I didn’t get a sense of their personalities.

Still, with those in mind, I did enjoy this book, and I enjoyed learning a bit of history from it. David is a complex character that evolves through out the book and while I may not end up liking him and wanting to have him over for tea, I want to know more about him.

The Narration: David George made a good David, scoffing and pouting and womanizing in all the right places. He also did a good job expressing incredulity (like the numerous times King Solomon has to throw his spear at someone in court). I especially liked his voice of the taunting David when certain items were liberated (quietly and sneakily) from an enemy’s camp. His female voices were rather similar, but as the women didn’t have major roles and didn’t chat with one another, it was easy to keep their characters apart.

What I Liked: David is a complicated man; learned a bit about history; the cover; I haven’t decided if I like the main character yet and this keeps me intrigued.

What I Disliked: The female roles were limited.

What Others Think:

Christoph Fischer

Reviews by Amos Lassen

DW Headrick