Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is Spring TBR and here goes mine (though I highly doubt I will manage all of them in spring, it’s more like spring+summer TBR!)

The White Luck Warrior

The Great Ordeal

Ghosts of Tomorrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m planning to finish all of Aspect-Emperor before the next one (The Unholy Consult) comes out in summer. And there’s the grimdark new release from Michael R. Fletcher I will squeeze in, I normally don’t read western fantasy but Fletcher’s Manifest Delusions books were so damn awesome, I will read everything he publishes cause he writes some of the most messed up and complex grimdark characters out there.

 

The Shadow Rising

The Fires of Heaven

Lord of Chaos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m aching to get back to the Wheel of Time world after reading the first 3 books, but some exciting new releases came out and the news of Unholy Consult coming out got me to grab Aspect-Emperor books. I am really dying to read the rest of the WoT!

 

Danse Macabre

The Falcon Throne

Sword of Destiny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course I’m ever the impatient one, which means sometimes I get way too hyped up about certain books and I will grab them before finishing the series I have at hand, no matter how awesome it is. I’m bad like that!

Best Served Cold

 

I have been meaning to read the standalone First Law world books by Abercrombie since The First Law trilogy felt too short and left me with a big book hangover. This is the first of the three standalone First Law world books.

What is in your TBR? Link to your post and let me know!

 

WWW Wednesday: 8 March, 2017

WWW Wednesday weekly blog meme

WWW Wednesday is hosted each week by Taking on a World of Words.

What are you currently reading?

The Judging Eye

The Last Wish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Wish, Witcher book #1 and The Judging Eye, Aspect-Emperor Book #1. Both are excellent so far.

What have you recently finished reading?

Red Sister

This was one of the best fantasy books I have ever read. Review coming soon!

What are you planning on reading next?

The White Luck Warrior

This is the second book of Aspect-Emperor, I need to catch up by the time The Unholy Consult comes out!

What have you been reading lately?

Book Review: The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin

Tombs of Atuan
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Earthsea Cycle
Author info: http://www.ursulakleguin.com/

This is the second book of the great classic Earthsea Cycle. See my review for the first book here.

A Wizard of Earthsea was about Ged’s journey to become a sorcerer and his struggle with the evil shadow, this book tells the story of Tenar, a young girl taken away from her family at the tender age of five to be raised as the priestess of the Nameless gods.She is forced to shed her identity and they call her Arha in her new life.

It starts a story of loneliness and continues as a story of courage. Tenar is incredibly lonely despite the high position she holds, a position which is more symbolic than one of real power. She has no close friends other than the eunuch guardian, and learning the ways of the dark labyrinths where no light is allowed is a daunting task.

This is not your typical epic fantasy full of action, but a beautiful tale nonetheless. Ursula K. Le Guin’s prose is amazing and the imagery is vivid. This book explores the limits of faith, loyalty, trust and tradition. The stark contrast between the unyielding religious devotion and the doubts hacking away the faith, the religious authorities bending the faith to their agenda or lacking it altogether, the courage to question everything you have been taught and break through the dogma is brilliantly depicted.

As it is mentioned in the blurb,Ged shows up later as a secondary character, and the relationship between Tenar and Ged starting with suspicion and turnign into mutual admiration and trust is fascinating to read. Tenar’s character development is stellar.

This is a great book. I think even the people who found a Wizard of Earthsea boring will like this book. I liked it a lot, it’s different from most fantasy books I read and I loved both the worldbuilding and the philosophical aspects. Earthsea books are leaning more towards literary fiction than genre fiction, but I highly recommend this book and its prequel, A Wizard of Earthsea, to fantasy lovers out there.

My Writing Soundtrack – Part 4

Here comes the long awaited part 4 of my writing soundtrack -after an awfully long time! Sorry about that- featuring some gems from Faun as well as more game soundtracks and instrumental collections.

Part 1 can be seen here.

Part 2 can be seen here.

Part 3 can be seen here.

Steampunk & Victorian Music Collection

Lindsey Stirling – Dragon Age

I’m a big fan of Lindsey Stirling’s music, it got me through awfully boring night shifts for months back int the day. This is from her official channel, I ordered some songs from her new album from itunes and I highly recommend checking it out. She makes amazing melodic songs which make great background music for writing sessions.

Faun- Ne Aludj El

I wrote many a chapter with this haunting Hungarian song in the background.

Faun – Arcadia

One of my all-time favorites, this Faun song is in Finnish, the lyrics are a poem from the Kanteletar, the lesser known collection of Finnish folk poems (Kalevala is the famous one.) The poem talks about a golden woodland king, which reminds me of Thranduil, which might as well be Tolkien’s inspiration for the character. The way he’s described in Hobbit is somewhat similar to this poem. Tolkien has drawn quite a bit of elements from the Kalevala, it would be no surprise if he was inspired by the Kanteletar also. Anyway, I love this song, it’s flamin’ great.

Faun – Königin

Faun – Egil Saga

Faun – Lupercalia

This one’s lyrics are from an Ovid poem, describing Pan. Ovid was one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature and this song lead me to grabbing a copy of the book, Fastorum Libri Sex, where this poem is taken from.

In the song/poem Pan runs downhill naked, followed by his ministers, in spirit of Lupercalia. At least that’s what I understood 🙂 Here is the Google Books link (scroll a bit for the English translation) for the curious.

Medieval II: Total War – Teutonic Campaign Soundtrack

Medieval Orthodox Byzantine Chants

This will sound weird, but I listen to Byzantine Orthodox chants for getting in the mood for certain parts of the story. It’s heavily inspired by the medieval Byzantine culture and they have produced some of the best religious music of the era. I am not a Christian, but I love the Orthodox chants.They are quite haunting and puts me in that certain atmosphere.

Ancient Greek Music: Spirit of Socrates

This one has some reconstructed (from archaelogical findings) and original music featuring ancient Greek instruments. Pretty darn cool stuff.

Book Review: The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan

The Dragon Reborn
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Wheel of Time
Author info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Jordan

This is book #3 of the legendary Wheel of Time series. See my reviews for the first book and the second book.

Warning: Spoilers for the previous books, since it’s inevitable when reviewing series, especially a long one like The Wheel of Time.

I enjoyed reading this book a great deal, I must say it was quite interesting to read a whole book with non-Rand POV’s and getting to know some of the supporting characters better. I didn’t care much for Perrin in the beginning, but he grew on me since he had some great POV chapters showing his internal conflict quite well.

The pacing is excellent, a lot of things are going on, different teams of characters set out on different journeys and deal with serious threats.

The star of the book was Mat without question. He has been a great burden on everyone in the previous book, paralyzed with the curse of the dagger and pretty much out of the game. Once the Aes Sedai cured him of that horrible curse, he started to kick serious arse. His gambling runs and inn-hopping with Thom were some of the most entertaining parts of the book. Mat is awesome and he grabbed the spot for my favorite character in this series so far.

A new character called Faile aka Zarine is introduced in this book and dear Gods she is irritating as hell. She wins the second place for the most annoying female fantasy characters after Denna from the Kingkiller Chronicle, though I’ve been told she cleans up her act and becomes nice in later books. We shall see.

Hopper, Perrin’s wolf familiar is another favorite of mine. He sort of reminds me of Nighteyes from Farseer books, but unlike vigorous and youthful Nighteyes, Hopper is a wise elder wolf type.

We get to know the mysterious Aiel people and their awesome warrior culture. Aiel girls were cool as hell and I loved their witty lines. A Goodreads reviewer wrote Aiel sound like a fantasy version of the Fremen in Dune, and not very original, but it has been many years since I’ve seen the Dune movies and I’ve never read the books, they seemed quite original and awesome to me. They actually sound a bit like the Tuareg tribes in our world.

Tear setting was excellent, so different from the other cities -which were also different form each other- with its unique power structure and strange culture. The details of the cities and the different cultures never fails to immerse me in the world and the story.

Only two things bothered me so far about the Wheel of Time series: 1) Nynaeve’s constant braid tugging (the girl will go bald if she keeps that up!) 2) Bad guys’ names being Hebrew demon names (Sammael, Bel’al=Belial) and the Dark One’s name being the same as the Islamic name for Satan (Shaitan), his alias Ba’alzamon sounding too much like the Hebrew demon Beelzebub -it is kind of annoying. I imagine it shouldn’t bother the readers who are not familiar with Middle Eastern demonology.

Verdict: I loved it. Excellent prose, characters, pacing, action, worldbuilding. I can’t wait to dive into book 4!

Book Review: The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan

The Great Hunt
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Wheel of Time
Author info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Jordan

This is book #2 of the legendary Wheel of Time series and I enjoyed it even more than book #1. See my review for the first book here.

The plot thickens and Robert Jordan’s amazing worldbuilding starts unfolding for real in this volume. I was happy to finally see some character development with Rand and hear his voice more. Rand felt like a looking glass character in the first book, but in The Great Hunt Rand really starts to shine. His refusal to accept being the Dragon Reborn and inner struggles was quite intriguing to read.

I honestly didn’t care for Egwene in the beginning, but she grew on me later on. My new fav character was introduced here: The Amyrlin Seat, leader of the Aes Sedai in Tar Valon. She is quite a remarkable character. She came from a fishing village background and the way she makes fishing related analogies about everything is brilliant. Robert Jordan is a genius about weaving characters with such fine details. Also I’m always on the lookout for female characters that aren’t pretty princesses or warrior vixens, so I’m quite happy to see an awesome motherly character with a sharp wit.

Lan got on my nerves a bit in The Eye of the World but here he shines with his cool charm.

The Shienarans have a very different and interesting culture, again Robert Jordan’s superb talent for creating believable and richly detailed cultures keeps impressing the hell out of me. Their attitudes and worldview is quite interesting, nothing like the mainland Andor folks.

Children of the Light continue to be a horrible nuisance, I hate them even more than the Darkfriends. They remind me of the Westboro Baptist Church. They are even more irritating than them.

The Great Game of the Houses in Cairhien puts the Game of Thrones court intrigue to shame, though it gets a bit too colorful in places, but those chapters were my favorites nonetheless. Rand’s attitude is brilliant, too.

I was happy to see Min again, she had a very small part in book 1 but she intrigued the hell out of me, the way Robert Jordan brought her back tot he story was superb.

Girls will kick arse, I am hell bent on keeping my reviews spoiler-free but I found the scenes where they pulled serious badassery quite pleasing to read. These are the kinds of female characters I want to read about, they can take care of business and kick arse when needed. After the weakling messed up females of Asoiaf, Robert Jordan’s girls are such a delight to read. I’m a fan!

My search for a crush-worthy male character continues, I think I will settle for Ba’alzamon for the time being, he comes the closest.

Book Review: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

A Wizard of Earthsea
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Earthsea Cycle
Author info: http://www.ursulakleguin.com/

This is one of the classics of fantasy. It was written in 1967 when the only example of fantasy literature out there was LOTR. It has wizards and dragons, but it’s nothing remotely like a typical fantasy book. It’s more literary fiction than genre fiction, despite the fantasy elements in it, and also it’s quite original and nothing like any fantasy book I’ve read.

If you read this book with the typical expectations you’d have for genre fiction, you might be disappointed. Quite a few friends who read it found it boring, but I beg to differ. I have read plenty of literary fiction in my younger days and A Wizard of Earthsea has reminded me of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach -which were written years later- even though it’s quite different. I have read a review in Goodreads saying Ursula K. Le Guin has studied Taoist philosophy and A Wizard of Earthsea has heavy Taoist themes, even though I am not much familiar with Taoism, I can say I noticed the underlying East Asian philosophy in the story.

The prose is beautiful, there are no plot holes at all, and none of the typical tropes and cliches. The twists are masterful and a delight to read. Where everyone copied from Tolkien, even decades after LOTR, Le Guin wrote a completely original story when there was no example of fantasy fiction other than LOTR. That alone makes it worth a read. It’s not even 200 pages anyway, for those of us who are used to 600-700 page fantasy books, it should take a day or two day to read this book.

I didn’t find it boring at all and loved the philosophy in it. If you read it like literary fiction with fantasy themes, you will most probably love it.