Warbreaker Read Along Part II

Thanks to the folks over at Once Upon a Time for running this read along. Make sure to check out their site and see what they think about the book so far.

Since this is a reread for me, I will be answering most of these questions sideways because I already know how the story plays out. This week’s section covered Chpts. 13-23. See the schedule over HERE.

The Questions:

1) We’ve seen more of Vasher and Nightblood in action and heard perhaps quite a different perspective from the mercenaries. Any thoughts on what Vasher and Nightblood’s nature or motivations may ultimately be?
Vasher and Nightblood are an interesting duo – each highly deadly in his/it’s own right and one self-restrained and one physically restrained. I am highly amused by Nightblood, in a guilty kind of twisted way. I don’t think Nightblood is a particularly good being. During my first read through, I still wasn’t too sure about these two and their motivations. I thought Vasher was harsh and probably up to no good – he killed a man in the first week’s reading, made threatening eyes at Vivenna this week. But them he goes and leaves people alive that he doesn’t have to.
2) How about the mercenaries themselves? Denth seems to be spectacularly dangerous; more than we may have suspected. Then there is Tonk Fah and the recently introduced Jewels. Are they playing it level with Vivenna, do you think?
Yes. I think they are creepy and morbid by turns, but they are mercenaries and have been hired to do a job. Denth especially appears to be taking the Princess under his wing a little and giving her some much needed advice. I like them because of their dark humor though I do miss Tonk Fah’s bird.  Jewels is the first Drab we really get to see and that only a little. She seems to have no regard for Vivenna and that might just be her nature to everyone, or perhaps she doesn’t care for royalty. She does seem to coddle her Lifeless and I can remember during my first read through thinking perhaps it was because she was socially inept with the living.
3) We – and Siri – were let in on (some of) the secrets surrounding the God King as well, and what has been done to him to keep him in check. Or at least, we’ve seen Siri’s thoughts on why it was done. Do you think she was right? What consequences do you perhaps see arising from her teaching the Godking?
I think she will be teaching him more than reading skills….. OK, highschool humor aside I think some shit will be going down as a result of increasing the God King’s comprehensive skills. The cutesy-wutesy side of me, admittedly very small, also finds this very endearing – the God King asking for help from his wife on something that reveals so much about himself.
4) Blushweaver seems to be working toward some end goal we’re not yet privy to, but we know she is after anyone with Lifeless commands. Any ideas what/who/where her target may be once control of the Lifeless is gained?
Well, I don’t think she is looking to set of a Lifeless harem for herself or a night cabaret with male Lifeless on stage. She says that she just wants to prepare for the worst case, but that is all she is presenting. She seems to get a high out of manipulating people; I hope Lightsong keeps vexing her.
Other Tidbits:
While the scenes with the Lifeless squirrel running amok were not described, I can still picture them, and they make me snort-laugh.
What do you think Vasher was doing in Mercystar’s palace anyway? Who is his informant? I remember being tortured by these questions my first read through.
Scoot knew Lightsong in his past life and believes in his goodness and divinity. That is very telling.
Vivenna has still got a stick up her rear about some things, doesn’t she? I am glad that started to waver in this section, probably due to discovering her father’s notes to the now-dead Lemex.
What do you think Susebron thinks of Siri’s new nightly performance? If he can’t read, then does he know about procreation at all? Do you think he mimics the gestures and bouncing back in his own room, trying to puzzle it out?
Lightsong, the Super Sleuth!

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

Why I Read It: Book 1, The Lies of Locke Lamora,  was excellent and we also did a readalong on Darkcargo.com.

Where I Got It: Used paperback from Amazon.com.

Who I Recommend This To: Anyone who enjoys a great pirate adventure, with cats, assassins, mist creatures, and impatient military leaders.

Publisher: Bantam Dell (2007)

Length: 760 pages

There were lots of pirates and also, surprisingly, kittens. I did not see either coming based on the previous book in the series, The Lies of Locke Lamora. Scott Lynch took his readers for a turn, not just in location, but also in background and main plot points. In The Gentlemen Bastards Book 1, the guys get to call a lot of the shots; they still have some control over their lives. In Book 2 of the series, it seems everyone wants to give direction and meaning to Locke and Jean’s little lives. Well, they have plans of their own and are stubbornly clinging to them.

After the mayhem that ended Book1, Locke and Jean needed some place to keep a low profile and for Locke to sulk in some booze, which he does until Jean snaps him out of it….with a brick wall. (That was a very funny scene by the way). Then they are off to Tal Verrar islands for a highly-planned, well equipped, yet poorly timed scheme that runs 2 years in the making. Tal Verrar is a gambler’s paradise, with gambling houses of all sorts, exotic nightlife, and alcohol. Lots of alcohol. Locke and Jean have a scheme that calls for looking into one of the most impregnable vaults in town, which happens to belong to a very ruthless man named Requin and his bodyguard/lover Selendri.

Things start to go awry when it becomes apparent that the Karthaini Bondsmagi know exactly where they are and they want revenge – slow revenge. To add to that, they are hauled before the Archon, who runs the local military force for Tal Verrar. He has a task for the two of them, and it is not a request. In short, these two land-lubbers have to learn some seamanship and pretend to be pirates and then convince some other pirates to …… well do what pirates do. If you read Book 1, you can already tell there will be all sorts of issues with this. Add to that some unknown entity keeps throwing assassins in their faces.

It was a great ride. Because of the fast pace, this book reads way quicker that others of the same girth. There is lots of great dialogue and some roguish humor, even at our heroes’ expense. Jean and Locke had some great character development plot points too. While we don’t get to meet Sabetha, Locke’s heart-breaking love we heard about in Book 1, we learn more about her.

What I Liked: Seamonsters; kittens; that scene with the failed highwayman and Locke and Jean dangling over a cliff; the mysterious Morraine; Locke and Jean get ordered around a lot; Sea pirate Captain Drakasha and her first mate Ezri; a little surprise at the end.

What I Disliked: I felt that the last 100 pages were rushed and thought that Lynch should have been given some leeway to expand on some of the storyline instead of cramming in the finale.

Warbreaker Read Along Part I

Hello everyone. Welcome to the read along of Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. This read along is the brainchild of those lovely, quick-tongued, and highly entertaining folks over at Once Upon A Time, so make sure to stop by and enjoy their site. They also have the links to all the other participating bloggers.

This is my second time reading this novel in the past year. I enjoyed this book so much the first time through, I read it very fast and missed a lot of the details. So this read along was the perfect excuse to re-read it, and slow down my pace. With that said, I promise not to spoil anything in my answers for first time readers.

1. All right, let’s start easy – how are you liking the book so far? We’ve been introduced to a lot of characters and started several stories now. Any in particular catch your attention? Anything intrigue you?

I have to say the cover drew me in right away. Just gorgeous work.

I remember the first time reading this and finding it a little daunting to grasp the rules of the world right off the bat. Luckily, Sanderson provides plenty of details to help me get on board quickly enough.

The character of Vasher I was intrigued by right away; is he a bad guy? Good Guy? His sword Nightblood often had me inappropriately laughing. Also Denth and Tonk Fah were quite the dry wit comedy duo.

Siri also had my attention right away because she is rebellious (or an independent thinker depending on your point of view). She’s a handful at home and a too curious for the Hallandren crowd.

2. The Returned are all treated as Gods, but at least one of those Gods doesn’t believe in his own divinity, despite seeing potential visions. Do you think the Returned will prove to be divine? How do you feel about the religion built up around them?

I’m going to partially skirt the answer to the first question, since I know how the book ends. Let me bore you with beer talk about divinity. That first glass of fresh, clear, cool water after working in the sun for hours is divine. That first fresh strawberry from my own garden was divine. Of course there are divine acts, which can be simple things of kindness, especially when they go against our base inclinations. Lightsong seems to be in great need of some divinity. His ennui would be irksome if he didn’t have his snide comments and nick names to entertain me.

I see lots of potential for corruption. The Gods can abuse the system and get nearly anything they want (except freedom) and the servants of the Gods control access to them, and hence have a lot of power. I find Lightsong’s questions to Scoot about believing the whole religion very interesting. Lightsong is a God and even he questions the validity of the religion – probably because of the weekly offerings and the near daily petitions that he has to turn down.

3. The God King didn’t turn out to be the way he’s presented and thought of in this world. Any ideas on what his role will be in this story?

The first time I read this, I remember seeing the GK Susebron as a mystery. At first, I couldn’t tell if he would be cruel, simple, cold and callous, or a reserved goodness. There are so many rules for Siri, even as wife to the GK. Of course, this has lead to some amusing situations and conversations. Bluefingers’ advice not to touch the GK, when they are suppose to have sex and create an heir – that conversation had me laughing on the second time through just as much as the first.

4. The title – Warbreaker – what do you think it might refer to?

The title had me guessing up to near the end my first time through. I like not having all the answers right away in a story.

So early on in the book, the reader is introduced to how close to the surface war is brewing. Between that and the title, we know the theme of war is important.

Other Tidbits:

Vivenna is also an interesting character. She has defied her father and secretly followed her sister to the God King’s city. She firmly believes her sister is in desperate need of saving. I found it very interesting how quickly she is overwhelmed by the new environment and then thrown for a loop by Lemex’s death.

Can you imagine going from pretty self-serving and living in a prudish society to having people whose job it is to bathe you? Now, does Siri get to scrub her important bits, or is this done for her too?

Lightsong refers to a Goddess that was the last decent Returned. I would like to learn more about her (Calmseer) and her relationship with Lightsong.

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson – The Group Read

Dab of Darkness will be participating in it’s first Group Read with Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. I have been having fun with groups reads over at My Awful Reviews and Darkcargo and couldn’t resist playing in another one.

If you’d like to participate, then check out Once Upon a Time, who is hosting this Group Read and keeping us all organized (bless their little cat-herding souls!).

Brandon Sanderson is one of those cool authors that loves his fans back; Warbreaker is available on his website as a free HTML download, and he has deleted scenes.

Here’s the schedule:

Section One: Prologue – Chapter 12.
Reading: Monday 21 May, Questions Out: Saturday 26 May, Posts: Tuesday 29 May.

Section Two: Chapter 13 – Chapter 23.
Reading: Tuesday 29 May, Questions Out: Saturday 2 June, Posts: Tuesday 5 June.

Section Three: Chapter 24 – Chapter 34.
Reading: Tuesday 5 June, Questions Out: Saturday 9 June, Posts: Tuesday 12 June.

Section Four: Chapter 35 – Chapter 49.
Reading: Tuesday 12 June, Questions Out: Saturday 16 June, Posts: Tuesday 19 June.

Section Five: Chapter 50 – End.
Reading: Tuesday 19 June, Questions Out: Saturday 23 June, Posts: Tuesday 26 June.

 

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Why I Read It: The title caught my eye, I wanted something short, and I like Jeremy Irons’s voice.

Where I got it: The library

Narrator: Jeremy Irons

Publisher: (Harper Audio 2001)

Length: ~4 hours

This is a dense, enchanting novel. For only 4 CDs, there is much that happens in this tale. Paulo Coelho has woven together the elements of superstitious magic, the drive for adventure, and need to fulfill a personal legend into the engrossing novel The Alchemist. Santiago is a shepherd because he likes to travel and he gets along with sheep. He travels the valleys of Andalusia, Spain until he has an odd dream. He bargains with an old gypsy to interpret his dream; she says he must go to the pyramids of Egypt to find his treasure. Later, he comes across an old man (the king of Salem) who tells him to pursue his Personal Legend, which entails retrieving his treasure.

Off to Egypt our young hero goes. Along his way to the pyramids, he meets several other men who are pursuing their Personal Legends. Eventually, he meets The Alchemist, a man who has realized his Personal Legend. The two pal around together in the desert, avoiding bandits and placating warring tribes. In the midst of this, Santiago meets Fatima, and the two fall in love. He vows to return to her once he has realized his Personal Legend.

Coelho took threads of the various religions at the time (sometime after the invention of the printing press and before modern day) and braided them together beautifully. Santiago gains wisdom from nearly everything he interacts with throughout the story – the people, his sheep, the desert, and the wind.

Jeremy Irons has been one of my favorite actors for some time, and one of the reasons is because of his voice. I have always found his voice intense and somewhat mysterious; he was an excellent choice for this novel.

What I liked: Adventure; magic; a story about personal growth; sheep; pyramids; Jeremy Irons.

What I disliked: There are only 3 women in this book, all with small roles, 2 of which have the role of Romantic Interest; none of the ladies have a Personal Legend to fulfill.