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Book Review: Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2)

Book Review: Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2)

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 6 of 5 stars.

Series: The Stormlight Archive (Book 2 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, high fantasy

First published: March 4th 2014 by Tor Books


Words. Of. Radiance.
– End of review –

Jesting aside, the title of the book does pretty much sum up the magnificence of this sequel to The Way of Kings. Words of Radiance should be the paragon of excellence by which all sequels should hold themselves to as it was the best second book of a series that I’ve ever read.

If you have read my love letter to The Stormlight Archive, you would know that I pretty much adore everything about The Way of Kings – the characterisation, the worldbuilding, and even the minimal plot progression, given the significant portion of the book dedicated to the former. Words of Radiance took every element which I loved in the first book and enhanced it beyond my imagination.

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Book Review: The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)

Book Review: The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 6 of 5 stars.

Series: The Stormlight Archive (Book 1 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, high fantasy

First published: August 31st 2010 by Tor Books


The Stormlight Archive is Brandon Sanderson’s “love letter to the epic fantasy genre”. His magnum opus. From my perspective, he had lovingly and painstakingly crafted a masterpiece that was not just his greatest but one of the greatest of all time.  And thus, this is my love letter to The Stormlight Archive and I hope it can do some justice to this favourite series of mine.

There are many great fantasy books out there; some have a compelling story to tell supplemented with great characters; some have awesome magic and epic battle scenes, and some come with an interesting world that was richly imagined and detailed.  The Way of Kings is a huge opening act to The Stormlight Archive which took every single one of these elements of a good fantasy story and elevated the art of storytelling to a different league. You might think that “Yeah, you say that because you’re a Sanderson addict”. Then let me say that I’ve read The Way of Kings before I became addicted to his books. Or to phrase it the other way, I became an addict because of it.

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Celeste’s Top 10 Books of the Year so Far (January 1st, 2019-June 30th, 2019)

Celeste’s Top 10 Books of the Year so Far (January 1st, 2019-June 30th, 2019)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 10 Lists. His work is amazing, and we feel incredibly fortunate to have been favored with it. Thank you so much, Felix!

So far, 2019 has been an incredible reading year for me. Between January 1st and June 30th I read right around 60 books, and have found a number of new favorites. It was incredibly difficult to narrow my list down to ten books, but I finally managed it. There will be a handful of honorable mentions at the end of this post, for those I just couldn’t bare to not include. I’m taking a page from Petrik and following three rules for my list:

1. Only one book per author.
2. Rereads don’t count.
3. The books were new to me, but didn’t have to be published this year.

For the first time, I’m ranking my reads. That being said, every single book on this list was a 5 star read and I highly recommend them all.  You can view my full review of each book (including the honorable mentions) by clicking the link  in each title.  And now, without further ado, here are my favorite books of the past six months.

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The Emperor’s Soul

The Emperor’s Soul

(I read this in Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection)

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolutely incredible novella. Apparently, 105 pages are sufficient for Sanderson to craft a fantastic story with a strong beginning, wonderful characterizations, memorable climax scene, and a satisfying conclusion. The Emperor’s Soul has become my favorite novella of all time; it has qualities that surpassed a lot of other fantasy novels I’ve read.

I won’t go into any details on what the plot is, it’s only 100 pages long, try to jump into this story without knowing anything about it as I did. The plot dances upon several themes such as the nature of humanity and what truly defines art. There was a lot of beautiful philosophical contemplation to be found here and the novella was utterly well-paced. The Emperor’s Soul doesn’t waste any time getting into the plot; there’s no info dump, the magic system and world building were introduced gradually together with the plot and character development. Have I mentioned that the main character Wan ShaiLu (or Shai in short) is a lovable and intelligent heroine?

“There was rarely an obvious branching point in a person’s life. People changed slowly, over time. You didn’t take on step, then find yourself in a completely new location. You first took a little step off a path to avoid some rocks. For a while, you walked alongside the path, but then you wandered out a little way to step on softer soil. Then you stopped paying attention as you drifted farther and farther away. Finally, you found yourself in the wrong city, wondering why the signs on the roadway hadn’t led you better.”

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Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1)

Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1)

Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Is anyone else hesitant to read a favorite author’s work outside of their usual genre? I’ve loved Brandon Sanderson for years, but I’ve been extremely reluctant to try his young adult or middle grade offerings. I know that he writes addictive, immersive adult fantasy and was afraid to find out if that carried over into other genres intended for radically different audiences. I shouldn’t have doubted him. Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians was my first foray into Sanderson’s middle grade books, and it definitely won’t be my last.

“If you don’t believe what I’m telling you, then ask yourself this: would any decent, kind-hearted individual become a writer? Of course not.”

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Book Review: Skyward (Skyward)

Book Review: Skyward (Skyward)

ARC provided by the publisher, Gollancz, in exchange for an honest review..

Skyward Gollancz

 

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Series: Skyward (Book 1 of 4)

Genre: Science fiction, young adult

Published:  November 6th 2018 by Gollancz (UK) and Delacorte Press (US).


Skyward is a fine example of a Young Adult novel.   Once again, I’m in awe of Sanderson who shows he is still at the top of his game.

This novel is another hallmark of Sanderson’s ability to spin the most incredible stories. He described the book as How to Train Your Dragon meets Top Gun and Enders Game. These references, however, would count for nothing if the execution was poor. Fortunately, and to solidify my unwavering faith in my favourite author, he excelled in his first full-length space opera novel.

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Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3)

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive, #3)

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My review probably won’t be able to do this book justice. Well, justice is dead but I’ll see what I can do.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that my expectations regarding Oathbringer were extremely hard to contain. I had heard a lot of fantastic things about this series the first time I went through The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance last year, but I read through them many years after their original release dates. Oathbringer is a different experience in terms of environment and surrounding hype; this time I’m actually in the midst of all the hype, praises, and excitement everywhere. Because of this my expectations were Skybreaking high; especially after reading one of my favorite books of all time: Words of Radiance. Despite my irrational expectations, I’m gratified to say that Sanderson managed to meet my expectations because Oathbringer ended up being another masterwork installment in The Stormlight Archive series.

“This book, the third in the Stormlight Archive, is the most intimate, most tightly woven, and most eclectic book I’ve ever written—all wrapped up into one… I like this book. I really, really like this book.” –Brandon Sanderson

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Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2)

Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2)

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, this is finally happening. I’m ranking The Stormlight Archive as my number one favorite book series of all time, overtaking the throne previously held by Mistborn trilogy, and I don’t think this will change anytime soon. The Gods of the Cosmere knows how much I love the original Mistborn trilogy but Brandon Sanderson really raised the bar for the epic fantasy genre sky high with this series.

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The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Incredible, impressive or fantastic, all these words are an understatement to the quality this book holds. The Way of Kings is the beginning of a masterpiece series in epic fantasy. It is now my life goal and a new addition to my bucket list to obtain and read the entire series of The Stormlight Archive, which will probably take at least another 20 years from now to complete.

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Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds (Legion, #1-3)

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds (Legion, #1-3)

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun and thrilling to dark, poignant and intimate, Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds have them all.

This omnibus was my second venture into Sanderson’s non-Cosmere book/trilogy; the first one being Snapshot. Once again, Sanderson didn’t disappoint. Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds is an omnibus that encapsulated Sanderson’s Legion trilogy into one volume, specifically, Legion, Legion: Skin Deep, and Legion: Lies of the Beholder. If you haven’t read any of the trilogy, I strongly suggest you get this edition.

“My name is Stephen Leeds, and I am perfectly sane. My hallucinations, however, are all quite mad.”

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