Archive for Books

Random Three Kingdoms stuff

I think it should be fairly obvious from my previous posts, I have an irrational love for Three Kingdoms.

This love extended to, while I was in Japan, picking up various Three Kingdoms manga. I found no less than three different takes on Three Kingdoms (four if you count the “split” in the Scholar Bunko series) and one where, while Three Kingdoms is the setting it is not really the focus. I have heard enough of Ikkitousen to know it shouldn’t be considered among these (though I may check it out from sheer curiousity). So I figured I’d write up a bit about each. Read on if this sounds vaguely interesting.

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Death Gate Cycle

I don’t write as much about books as I should, but then I don’t read as many books as I used to.

I often find myself reading the same series over again – Eddings’ Belgariad, Mallorean, Elenium and Tamuli, Zelazny’s Amber and occasionally Tolkien’s various works are among my most re-read.  It’s not often that I try to branch out and give a new series a shot, but Weis and Hickman’s Death Gate Cycle came at a co-workers recommendation.

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Mini book reviews

Every once in a while, I find a random fantasy or sci-fi book at a used bookstore and read it, simply based on the name or how the cover looks.

Sometimes this only ends in disappointment – for example, Klein’s Starmaster’s Gambit I found to be bland and not particularly cohesive.

My last random purchase was Mickey Zucker Reichert’s The Last Renshai.  The first book was not incredibly impressive at first, but I sometimes have overly high standards.  By the time I reached the end, there were more than a few twists that completely blindsided me, and I really enjoyed it.

I found out the book was part of a trilogy, and picked up the other two, The Western Wizard and Child of Thunder.   I actually read through them quickly enough I don’t really remember where the one left off and the next started.  In any case, they were all three enjoyable yet not like most fantasy.  I’ve read some of George R.R. Martin’s incredibly dark and depressing works, where a character will as soon die as become a hero, and the old villains will become the new heroes.  Likewise, I’ve read Salvatore’s intoxicatingly positive Icewind Dale, where all the main characters seem impervious to all challenges.  The Renshai trilogy strikes a good medium – most characters are in fact not invincible (with the exception of one of the main characters).  The narrative changes characters often, giving a good idea of what is happening on different sides of the continent.  Though occasionally cheesy (honestly a necessity for me to enjoy any fantasy novel), it’s a really fun read.   I would like to talk about the characters, but that would spoil much of the first novel – suffice it to say almost everyone is refreshingly three-dimensional.

Though I would hesitate to recommend it over, say, Brust’s Vlad Taltos chronicles, or Zelazny’s Amber series, The Renshai series is definitely up there.


I’m still alive…

…barely. Driving from WA to Indianapolis took about 3 days, and now I’m all moved into my apartment and (nearly) everything is put in its place. I get to start work tomorrow, lucky me! At least then I will know some people around here. But for now I shall briefly mention Lords of the Realm 3 and some books.

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Books? Heresy!

So I’ve decided to use my “Books” category for once.  And in the same night as a games blog!

I finished a book recently called Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds.  If you’re a fan of science fiction, it’s good stuff.  Even if you’re not as much into the science of things; although there are explanations for several things, they aren’t generally related to the plot.

Anyway, it’s about this assassin named Tanner Mirabel who is tracking a man for unspecified reasons.  His hunt takes him to the formerly-rich planet of Yellowstone, particularly to Chasm City, where the reader begins to find out why Tanner is hunting this person – and why exactly Chasm City has become so desolate.

My brother tells me it’s a spinoff of a larger series, which sounds intriguing.  Chasm City has an amazingly intertwining plot, so it kept me occupied for a good while.  I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something serious (as humor is just about the only thing it lacks).
Now I get to move on to Brust’s Dzur.  If you haven’t heard of Brust, think of a combination of R.A. Salvatore and Roger Zelazny with a few twists.  It’s lots of fun, excitement, adventure, and humor.  I’m looking forward to it.