Saturday, February 12, 2011

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

Title: Guards! Guards! (A Disc World Novel)
Author: Terry Pratchett
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Rating: Like
Alerts/Warnings: Lots and lots of swearing
Premise: "Here there be dragons ... and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco nobilis ("noble dragon" for those who don't understand italics) has appeared in Discworld's greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is a noble dragon, after all ...)" (King County Library System)
Opinions: My husband is a HUGE fan of Terry Pratchett and has been trying to get me to read his books for years. I read one a few months ago that I couldn't bring myself to review due to the severe language and bawdy humor (though the rest of the book was quite remarkable). So my husband took it upon himself to find one that was a little more appropriate for my tastes.

Last week he checked out this book and began reading it to me while I worked on various other projects. I must warn you there is still a lot of swearing in this book. However, the way Terry Pratchett writes is ingenious. There are no official chapters, but several breaks in order to change points of view. However, within each point of view you get a perfectly clear idea of each character's personality, charms, and flaws. The humor is so off the wall crazy that I would think "oh no he didn't!", shake my head, and then we would keep reading. My most favorite character in this book is Captain Vimes. The sections from his point of view just leapt of the page and made him so real. He is a flawed, honest, and a good hearted man. It is intriguing to see how his mind works. My second favorite is the Librarian who is currently an Orangutan and prefers never to return to human form. I mean who else but Terry Pratchett would create an Orangutan Librarian? The man is crazy brilliant. His writing reminds me a lot of the works of Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. If you like Douglas Adams I think you will enjoy Terry Pratchett. Just be prepared, there is a lot of swearing (and in at least one of his other books bawdy humor - though I don't recall much of that in this particular book).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Title: Towers of Midnight (Book 13 Wheel of Time Series)
Author: Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Rating: Like
Alerts/Warnings: Moderate Violence
Premise: "As the seals on the Dark One's prison crumble and the armies of the Shadow boil out of the Blight, Perrin Aybara, hunted by specters from his past, must seek answers in "Tel'aran'rhiod" and find a way to master the wolf within him--or lose himself to it forever. Meanwhile, Matrim Cauthon prepares for the most difficult challenge of his life, as The Tower of Ghenjei awaits." (King County Library System)
Opinions: My husband introduced me to this series as soon as we were married. In fact, my husband loves this series so much that he rereads it on a regular basis. I love the world that was originally created by Mr Jordan and the work that Brandon Sanderson is doing to complete this series after Mr. Jordan's passing a few years ago. There are few minor drawbacks to the Wheel of Time Series. First, is that the overall series is really detailed and therefore extremely long. Also, there are so many different characters that play vital rolls that some times it is hard to recall who is who. However, those characters are so detailed that they pop off the pages and become real to the reader as he/she delves into the story. The final drawback was a chronological confusion in regards to Tam Al'Thor. The events surrounding the group travelling with Perrin Aybara occur simultaneously to events in the previous book and you don't get caught up with the other stories until about two thirds of the way through the book. So there was some confusion when Rand's dad Tam seemed to be in multiple places at once. As long as you keep in mind that the that particular story archs is slightly out of chronological placing as to when everything else takes place, then you should be fine (I hope that made sense).

The Towers of Midnight is the second to last in this series and Brandon Sanderson is doing a fantastic job and beginning to tie up all the loose ends. The story continues to be compelling and made it hard to put the book down (but we still had to at times due to the need of sleep and cramping of the hands from holding the 800+ page book). As the story is beginning to wrap up I was pleased to see some happy events occurring and people getting to meet again after long absences from each other. However, as the book is drawing near to the Last Battle there are several battles and assassination attempts that may be gruesome for younger readers. Still I feel that the authors did a good job at not making them overly graphic.

Overall, this was a very good read and I'm eager to see how the story ends in the final volume tentatively scheduled for release sometime next year.