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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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One Word Kill (Impossible Times, #1)

One Word Kill (Impossible Times, #1)

One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

One Word Kill is my first experience with Lawrence’s science fiction and, while it didn’t resonate with my soul as deeply as his Book of the Ancestor, it was a solid, fun, fast-paced read that I very much enjoyed. Here we have a nerdy group of friends, similar in dynamic to the crew that has taken the world by storm in Netflix’s Stranger Things. This group finds themselves facing external strife through contact with a plot that could have come straight from the pages of Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter. But just as harrowing is their internal turmoil as they learn that one of their number is currently in a battle for his life against the grimmest of foes: cancer.

In hospital they ask you to rate your discomfort on a scale of ten. I guess it’s the best they can come up with, but it fails to capture the nature of the beast. Pain can stay the same while you change around it. And, like a thumb of constant size, what it blocks out depends on how close it gets to you. At arm’s length a thumb obscures a small fragment of the day. Held close enough to your eye it can blind you to everything that matters, relegating the world to a periphery.

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The Killing Light (The Sacred Throne, #3)

The Killing Light (The Sacred Throne, #3)

ARC provided by the publisher—Tor.com—in exchange for an honest review.

The Killing Light by Myke Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A compelling read that offers a satisfying conclusion to The Sacred Throne trilogy.

I won’t be talking about the plot at all; there’s nothing about the story that I can say without spoiling something from the previous two books. As for what worked for me, there were many. I found the start of this book to be significantly better than the beginning of The Queen of Crows. This doesn’t mean that The Queen of Crows began horribly, but in my opinion, that book requires readers to binge-read the first two books or at least read them not too far in-between; the story continued immediately with no refresher on who’s who and it took me a long time to care about Heloise again. However, The Killing Light is not inflicted by the same situation; it started by efficiently refreshing reader’s memories on the characters and most importantly, allowing me to reacquaint myself with Heloise Factor because Cole elaborated on her characterizations first.

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The Monster of Elendhaven

The Monster of Elendhaven

ARC provided by the publisher—Tor.com—in exchange for an honest review.

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This starts out promising but overall it’s really just not for me.

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht is a debut that I’ve heard great things about. It’s been advertised as a compelling dark fantasy about revenge, murder, and magician. For what its worth, it did started out that way; strongly atmospheric and dark. However, once the romance started, I found that the twisted relationship and unrealistic progression in their romance (though, maybe that’s kinda the point of the relationship) that constantly hangs in a weird status throughout the book became more of the main focus than everything else.

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Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)

I received an advanced reading copy from Tor.com in exchange for an honest review.

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars.

I wish to echo Ann Leckie and simply say “I love Murderbot!”

With Rogue Protocol, The Murderbot Diaries is indeed shaping up to be a fantastic series of novellas that tick all the right boxes, albeit in a smaller-sized package of excellent science fiction action and empathetic character development.

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The Mist

The Mist

The Mist by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Mist is another of King’s works that, like Carrie, has become such an integral part of society’s collective consciousness regarding fear that it’s become almost cliche. And, as with Carrie, my visit to the Mist completely altered my perception of a story I thought I knew. In my opinion, it went a long towards explaining why King chooses to end stories the way he does, which I’ll get into later. All that being said, The Mist is a quick little journey into the frightened mind, a dissection of mob mentality and the way fear plays itself out within a group of strangers who are thrown together by sudden and unexplained danger. It’s disturbing and thoughtful and does a fantastic job of putting readers in the shoes of its characters.

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Fairy Tale (The Temple Chronicles, #0.5)

Fairy Tale (The Temple Chronicles, #0.5)

Fairy Tale by Shayne Silvers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fairy Tale is the prequel to the Nate Temple Chronicles by Shayne Silvers, and is the first piece I’ve read from the series or the author. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The snark level here is exactly what I’m looking for when I choose to read urban fantasy. When I start gravitating toward UF, my life is generally becoming hectic in some sense. I go to UF because I know that I will almost always deliver fast-pasted, well plotted stories with a dynamic cast of characters and, in the best case scenario, a plucky protagonist who wields sarcasm as a weapon whom I can look forward to revisiting again and again as UF series tend to be long in installments instead of hefty books.

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In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4)

In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4)

In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. While I appreciate the gift, the giving of it in no way impacted my opinion.

“Your name is your heart, and you don’t give your heart away.”

In an Absent Dream is heartbreaking in the most beautiful way. McGuire gives us a story that early readers of the Wayward Children series already know ends in tragedy, but she does so in a way that maintains both interest and, amazingly, hope. I honestly didn’t think Down Among the Sticks and Bones could be topped, but I stand corrected. What a way to start off 2019.

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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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Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3)

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3)

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3)Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s sad when a perfectly decent story leaves you disappointed, but that’s how I feel about this little novella. I absolutely loved Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones. They were both deep and meaningful and had important things to say about accepting yourself no matter how different you are and finding your place, whether it’s in this world or another. They spoke about how adults don’t see children as their equals, and undervalue their experiences and opinions and value just because of their age.

Because I was so moved and inspired by the first two books, I was expecting some of the same from this third installment. But that’s not what I got.

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