Tag Archives: Brandon Sanderson

Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell

I happen to have read two novellas/short stories from Brandon Sanderson recently and I decided to combine them into one set of mini-reviews! I grabbed the audio of PERFECT STATE  and SILENCE FOR SHADOWS IN THE FORESTS OF HELL in a recent Audible sale and managed to squeeze them in between full-length novels. Then I immediately ran to read MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY after finishing THE BANDS OF MOURNING because A) that series is addicting and B) I always want more answers and backstory to the Mistborn universe! Below you’ll find some brief thoughts on each.


Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of HellTitle: Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: March 31, 2015 by Dragonsteel Entertainment
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 25, 2016
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

God-Emperor Kairominas is lord of all he surveys. He has defeated all foes, has united the entire world beneath his rule, and has mastered the arcane arts. He spends his time sparring with his nemesis, who keeps trying to invade Kai's world.
Except for today. Today, Kai has to go on a date.
Forces have conspired to require him to meet with his equal—a woman from another world who has achieved just as much as he has. What happens when the most important man in the world is forced to have dinner with the most important woman in the world?

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PERFECT STATE was a lot of fun! I really liked the whole concept of “meta fiction” (I recently discovered this term!) in which the main character is essentially playing out their life through a simulated world (think The Matrix or even a VR world like in READY PLAYER ONE). PERFECT STATE follows the story of Kai who is the ruler of his own (fictional) world and now the time has come for him to interact with other actual humans and do his duty to reproduce in order to keep the population going.

These quick novellas from Sanderson are always so hard to rate! I know his amazing world-building and I always go into these novellas excited to read more Sanderson and I’m left wanting so much more! I could easily read a whole novel or series about this world and these characters! It would have been a fantastic series if that were the case. It’s classic Sanderson through and through — great world, witty characters, interesting intersection, creative twist. I loved the characters and I wished I could have spent more time in all of these different worlds!
I also really loved the combination of fantasy and sci-fi. It was really neat to see the two collide like that! I’ve really enjoyed everything that Brandon Sanderson has written, no matter the genre, and I will keep reading everything that crosses my path!


Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of HellTitle: Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: January 26, 2016 by Dragonsteel Entertainment
Source: Amazon
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 4, 2016
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

Mistborn: Secret History is a companion story to the original Mistborn trilogy.
As such, it contains HUGE SPOILERS for the books Mistborn (The Final Empire), The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages. It also contains very minor spoilers for the book The Bands of Mourning.
Mistborn: Secret History builds upon the characterization, events, and worldbuilding of the original trilogy. Reading it without that background will be a confusing process at best.
In short, this isn’t the place to start your journey into Mistborn. (Though if you have read the trilogy—but it has been a while—you should be just fine, so long as you remember the characters and the general plot of the books.)
Saying anything more here risks revealing too much. Even knowledge of this story’s existence is, in a way, a spoiler.
There’s always another secret.


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MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY was incredibly mind-blowing. I can’t really say TOO much about it because it’s incredibly spoilery for those who haven’t read MISTBORN yet or even those who haven’t finished THE BANDS OF MOURNING yet. This short story takes place just after the rush of events as MISTBORN is ending and continues to span throughout the rest of the original trilogy, setting things up for the Wax & Wayne era.

Sanderson’s world building is astounding. I love that he’s been compiling this story little by little as he’s been writing the series and finally shared it in this novella. I agree that it may have been too much to mix in with the series chronologically and I was happy to read this all from one POV!

Honestly? I got a tad lost in the middle. Well, not lost but I just have a hard time adapting to new ideas/places/people without enough anchors to hold me to an original character/story. Maybe I’m just not well-versed enough in the Cosmere? But I was having a bit of a hard time wrapping my brain around some of the sections in the middle just because we’re dealing with such higher forces (without giving any spoilers away) and a nearly new concept which I would have loved to spend more time with! Could be that these things/concepts/whatever also appear in other Sanderson books that I just haven’t read yet and that’s why I’m not picking up on it as much! Truly, the things you find out in this short story are so amazingly fantastical that I actually want to re-read the whole series and have MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY in hand so I can read them on the same timelines. I also want to go back and read sections of this again so I can really grasp what’s going on. Some things did  seem to be tied to other books set in the Cosmere so I really need to read those soon!!

There were some amazing moments between original Mistborn characters that just totally warmed my heart and really put a happy ending on everything. I loved tiny glances at different POVs (especially Kelsier’s) as scenes from the endings of MISTBORN, THE WELL OF ASCENSION, and THE HERO OF AGES appear in the novella. I loved seeing some of my favorite characters and getting even more answers as to what happened to them and exactly how things played out since we get a different perspective here.

Always a joy to read, some MIND-BLOWING knowledge that has me dying to pick up more books (not like that was an issue anyway. I already have reads planned out!), but now I can’t believe how long I’ll have to wait for new Mistborn books! AHHH!

Mini-Reviews: Brandon Sanderson Novellas | Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History, & Shadows for Silence in the Forests of HellTitle: Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: December 3, 2013 by Dragonsteel Entertainment
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 7, 2016
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

When the familiar and seemingly safe turns lethal, therein danger lies. Amid a forest where the shades of the dead linger all around, every homesteader knows to follow the Simple Rules: "Don't kindle flame, don't shed the blood of another, don't run at night. These things draw shades."
Silence Montane has broken all three rules on more than one occasion. And to protect her family from a murderous gang with high bounties on their heads, Silence will break every rule again, at the risk of becoming a shade herself.


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I think this is one of my favorite Brandon Sanderson novellas to date. (Though I think LEGION is right up there but in a totally different way.) SHADOWS FOR SILENCE IN THE FORESTS OF HELL (whew, that’s a long title for a short book) was instantly engaging for me! It took just a minute or two before I figured out who the focus of the novella was (you know me — I don’t re-read synopses before starting a new book) and then once I was there I was totally there. It was a short story but I was instantly captivated. Although it’s set firmly in the Cosmere, the characters and setting actually really reminded me of Patrick Rothfuss’ THE NAME OF THE WIND — which I also adore — and so I think that familiarity (even though totally unrelated) really helped me get a feel for things quickly which is something that I do have issues with sometimes in novellas.

The characters, action, and plot were all great! As usual with a short story, I was left wanting so much more world-building and backstory but in the sense that I was interested and invested, not that it was lacking. I felt like I had a nice grip on the concept of what was happening and the characters were interesting and showed a nice depth.

I think if you’re interested in picking a novella of Sanderson’s this is one I’d highly recommend on starting with! The audiobook was also great (and cheap) and it was perfect for a little change of pace between full-length novels.


Are you a big Sanderson fan? Have you read any (or all) of these? I can’t get enough of the Mistborn books!!

Calamity (The Reckoners #3) – Brandon Sanderson

Calamity (The Reckoners #3) – Brandon SandersonTitle: Calamity (The Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: February 16, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Superheroes
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 25, 2016
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

When Calamity lit up the sky, the Epics were born. David’s fate has been tied to their villainy ever since that historic night. Steelheart killed his father. Firefight stole his heart. And now Regalia has turned his closest ally into a dangerous enemy.
David knew Prof’s secret, and kept it even when Prof struggled to control the effects of his Epic powers. But facing Obliteration in Babilar was too much. Once the Reckoners’ leader, Prof has now embraced his Epic destiny. He’s disappeared into those murky shadows of menace Epics are infamous for the world over, and everyone knows there’s no turning back...
But everyone is wrong. Redemption is possible for Epics—Megan proved it. They’re not lost. Not completely. And David is just about crazy enough to face down the most powerful High Epic of all to get his friend back. Or die trying.

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Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors and after I binge read STEELHEART, FIREFIGHT, and even the MITOSIS novella, the wait for CALAMITY was rough! I wasn’t used to waiting for a new Sanderson book (I have a tendency to binge them since I just can’t get enough!) so I was incredibly excited for the conclusion to this fun and smart YA series!

CALAMITY brought some of my favorite characters back! I adore David Charleston and he’s just so much fun. Even when things look bleak, he’s still got bad metaphors (well, actually similes) to cheer everyone up and he always seems to be quite positive about everything. I loved the tone that he brought to this series and how things always stayed humorous even in the darkest of times. The Reckoners crew is so much fun too. I still wasn’t as attached to new-comer (well, new in FIREFIGHT) Mizzy but I think that’s just because I have a hard time adjusting to new characters becoming a part of the main crew. I was really glad that more of Megan’s powers were explored and that CALAMITY really dug deeper into how they worked and why.

CALAMITY was much more action-packed and fast-paced than the first two books. I think STEELHEART and FIREFIGHT still had quite a bit of action but CALAMITY seemed to be more focused on this final show-down between the Reckoners and the Epics than the first two installments. I did miss the classic Sanderson world-building and details in this book and it was fairly noticeable for me as I was reading. I’m so used to layers upon layers of details or clues being built into the book and then it all coming together in the end. Everything did still wrap up nicely but I was hoping that there would be just a touch more explanation and detail about Calamity (the Epic) and the formation of everyone’s powers. The answers were there but I was so hungry for more world-building! Maybe previous books have spoiled me since the Mistborn books are insanely detailed worlds.

I really did feel a bit disappointed in the ending. I really liked where it was going, leading up to the answers of who/what/where Calamity is and why. I was just hoping for a bit more explanation once we got there. Sanderson is usually so good at pulling everything together and in such a stunning way and here I felt like things were not as carefully planned. The basic questions were answered but I still wanted to know so much more. We find out where Calamity is (other than burning out somewhere in the sky) but I still didn’t know where Calamity came from. We find out why the powers on Earth came to be but I still wasn’t quite sure why the motive to install them there (so to speak. Trying to word carefully to avoid spoilers!) was important. I feel like once the answers were provided, there needed to be even one MORE layer of world-building after that and I felt like the book didn’t quite go that ONE step further to really give a conclusion that closed all of the open doors.

The book was enjoyable from start to finish and it never had a lull for me. The pacing was great, always moving things forward even when I didn’t know where they were going. I do still feel that small ping of disappointment though thinking how everything wrapped up. I’ve just become accustomed to Sanderson’s writing and how he crafted the Mistborn series (I have yet to read other series) and so I think my expectations were a little high for this conclusion. It was absolutely still a fun read but I did feel like there were still a few more loose ends that could have been tied.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

So, I ended up with a manuscript of CALAMITY (since there were no ARCs) and I started it but I also ended up waiting for the audiobook because that is how much I love MacLeod Andrews. I’ve reviewed his narration many, many times since I end up picking audiobooks specifically because he narrates them but I will reiterate how much I do love his voices. Males voicing females is always hard but no matter if it was David, Megan, Mizzy, Cody — each voice really felt individual and realistic. It’s more about the way that he forms a voice for a character even more than just choosing how their voice might sound. He adds so much character to each person and it really makes them come alive in the books. Obliteration was more nasal, Cody had a slight Southern accent, Abraham’s French-Canadian accent was fantastic — MacLeod Andrews really puts all those details in to each character. I also love when he adds human actions instead of just saying things like sniffles or gasps or sneezes. Those elements are also performed sometimes to really bring an extra layer of acting to the audiobook. I just love his performances and I’ll be picking up many, many more books narrated by him in the future.

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

calamity gr updates

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Superheroes. I really haven’t read many books with a superhero twist. Most “power” books I’ve read end up being fantasy so it was so much fun to see this as more of a sci-fi/superhero aspect!
Left Me Wanting More: Explanation. Sanderson is usually so incredibly amazing at typing up all loose ends and even going further with conclusions than I expect. CALAMITY disappointed me just a bit in that sense and although we did get answers, I wanted just a bit more info.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I still love this series and think it’s definitely worth the read! If you’re a bit Sanderson fan (or not) you’ll still have a lot of fun with it. I’m curious to see how non-Sanderson fans (those who haven’t read his other series) feel about the conclusion. I’m wondering if maybe I was expecting too much or hyped it up too much for myself…?

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BOOKS LIKE CALAMITY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

BURNING MIDNIGHT    VICIOUS

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) – Brandon Sanderson

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) – Brandon SandersonTitle: The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: January 26, 2016 by Macmillan, Tor Books
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 31, 2016
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

With The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America.
Now, with The Bands of Mourning, Sanderson continues the story. The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

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It always seems impossible to find a place to start when reviewing and discussing Brandon Sanderson’s books. I quickly became addicted to the Mistborn series in 2014 and it also opened the door for me to explore other fantasy books and also not limit myself to young adult. I do have to say thank GOODNESS that SHADOWS OF SELF and THE BANDS OF MOURNING were released so close together because the wait is always excruciating. (Seriously. I’m already dying for more.) I suppose the good news it that now I’m caught up on the Mistborn books and I can dive into another one of his series (I’m thinking THE WAY OF KINGS will be my next Sanderson read)!

THE BANDS OF MOURNING really had it all! One thing I kept saying about this new Wax & Wayne trilogy was that I just didn’t feel as connected to the characters as I had with the original Mistborn crew and things really clicked and solidified for me in this book! I had always enjoyed the characters but I felt like THE BANDS OF MOURNING really dug deeper into each character’s back story, emotions, and created strong bonds between each character as well. There were some sweet romantic moments, amazing bromances, and fantastic friendships that I grew to love even more and I loved how well these characters ended up working together. I love books with sort of a zany crew and Wax, Wayne, Steris, and Marasi certainly were an odd group to put together but they blend together so well to form this perfect unit! Wayne never ceases to crack me up and I love the way he plays off of the other characters.

Another thing I loved was how much this really tied into the original trilogy and even things that had happened prior to MISTBORN. There are some deeply-rooted secrets that get revealed and some incredibly world-building moments that always have me wondering how much Brandon Sanderson planned ahead of time and held back. The layers of this world keep on peeling back to reveal more and more and it’s simply stunning to see how much more there is to learn about Scadriel and the Cosmere. It’s also really fun to think about in terms of our world and reality — scientists, scholars, archaeologists, etc are always discovering new things about our history and the unknowns out there in space. It’s amazing to see those same concepts applied to a series! I feel like authors don’t normally go that far into developing a world (or in this case, universe) and I’m so floored with the things that Brandon Sanderson has crafted for the Cosmere.

As usual, Sanderson is the master of huge twists and shocking moments. Obviously I won’t go into detail so as not to spoil anything but the ending of THE  BANDS OF MOURNING is packed full of action, answers to questions, and moments that had me gasping and/or crying. The ending was phenomenal and wait, did this book set it up for a fourth Wax & Wayne book? Needless to say, it kept me on the edge of my seat and cemented my love for this series even more!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Book Universes. I can honestly say that aside from some tampering by gods or a science-fiction setting, this is the first series that really explores a universe, complete with gods, creation stories, history, and so much more.
Left Me Wanting More: Swoons? Honestly, this book is really lacking nothing but I can always use a bit more of a swoon factor. I do like that Wax and Steris really start to come together in this book and they’re kind of perfect for each other. They’re both so level-headed and practical that it really starts to fit.

Addiction Rating
Fall in love with it!

The Mistborn books are just phenomenal. I’m so glad I read them and I will continue to put them in the hands of others!

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BOOKS LIKE THE BANDS OF MOURNING

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE NAME OF THE WIND    THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA

Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5) – Brandon Sanderson

Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5) – Brandon SandersonTitle: Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: October 6, 2015 by Macmillan, Tor Books
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 9, 2015
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.
This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.
Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.

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SHADOWS OF SELF was one of my most-anticipated reads of the year. I fell in love with Brandon Sanderson’s work over my first read of MISTBORN, became obsessed with his Reckoners Trilogy, and really just can’t get enough of the Mistborn world. SHADOWS OF SELF definitely continued the wild ride in this incredible fantasy world and left me wanting even more!

One thing I noted in my read of THE ALLOY OF LAW was that it was hard for me to switch to a whole new cast of characters since it picks up a few hundred years after the first three Mistborn books. I was hoping to connect more to the characters in SHADOWS OF SELF and I definitely think I got there but I also feel like I’m still not as into them as I was with the characters of the original trilogy. I’m not sure if it’s Wax’s logical and law-abiding nature that’s throwing me off (I love emotional rogues) or the fact that there really isn’t a transition from old characters to new since this takes place so much further after the original timeline but I still wasn’t quite making it to the same level of love as I had with the first three books.

The character connection is really my only “complaint” about these books, though. I just adore Brandon Sanderson’s writing and I’m continuously amazed how things tie together. There are things that were present in the first three or four books that I got answers for in SHADOWS OF SELF and it’s a totally mind-blowing experience because I didn’t even know I was missing a piece of the puzzle until it was exposed. Sanderson is constantly expanding the world, coming up with new ways to build on previous events, adding more aspects to the rules of the magic system, and really just continuing to grow absolutely everything that he’s already established. I love that it all feels natural and whether that was the plan the whole time or he came up with this concepts as he went along, the books really do feel like one big giant piece.

The reveals at the end of the book, as always, were simply amazing. Again, pieces I didn’t even know I was missing popped up and all at once, everything clicked and I was presented with even more questions about everyone’s situation. Ties are made THE ALLOY OF LAW, the Mistborn trilogy, and even things that pre-date MISTBORN. The craftsmanship of these novels is simply remarkable and always leave me wanting more!

There was also a lot more connection to the original books in SHADOWS OF SELF as well which easily made me totally geek out. It was so exciting to see specific characters referenced by name, in specific places, and their legacies found within legends. I was so happy to see so much more of the original trilogy referenced because it really brought even more feelings to the surface.

It’s hard to really get into detail in a review when it’s the fifth book in a series but if you’re reading this review and you haven’t started on the Mistborn books yet, all I can tell you is DO IT. I find it hard to believe that someone can be disappointed with them because everything is just so well done. I’m constantly dying for more and I cannot wait to see how this trio of books closes out!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

shadows of self gr updates

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Wax // Character Obsessions: Honor, law, friendship. 
I think I have a bit more trouble connecting to Wax as a main character simply because he is less emotional. He’s very much a law man and makes decisions with his head more often than his heart. He seems a bit more closed-off and also protects his feelings a lot. I just want to break into that emotional layer juuuust a bit more!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Mistborn! Okay, when was I not hooked on it… But really, I’m so glad that this series keeps going. It’s so addicting!
Left Me Wanting More: Emotion. That seems to be the main thing I’m missing… I also don’t always need a romance but I would love it if there was a bit more of it in these books to really key into those emotions!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I will forever recommend these books and this series. I just love Brandon Sanderson’s creative genuis and I can’t get enougH!

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BOOKS LIKE SHADOWS OF SELF

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA    THE NAME OF THE WIND

Mini-Review: Firstborn | DNF Report: Proof of Forever, An Ember in the Ashes, The Eye of the World

It’s time again for a collection of mini-reviews and reports with feedback on a few things that I’ve read recently (or started reading and chose not to finish)!

Mini-Review: Firstborn by Brandon Sanderson | DNF Report: Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
DNF Report: An Amber in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir | DNF Report: The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan


Mini-Review: Firstborn | DNF Report: Proof of Forever, An Ember in the Ashes, The Eye of the WorldTitle: Firstborn by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: July 20, 2010 by Tor Books
Source: Read for free on Tor.com
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 29, 2015
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

Of the son of a High Duke of the interstellar Empire, much glory is expected.
And expected.
And still expected, despite endless proof that young Dennison Crestmar has no talent whatsoever for war. But the life Dennison is forced to live will have its surprising lessons to impart-

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FIRSTBORN is a bit misleading for a title if you’re a fan of Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy (and companions). It actually has nothing to do with that series whatsoever so don’t be too surprised if you start this and feel totally lost! I actually did know that it was not related when I first started reading but I still felt lost in the beginning of FIRSTBORN. I’ve read all of the Mistborn books published to-date and a few Sanderson novellas plus his YA series, The Reckoners, and yet reading a new story from Sanderson, I never quite know what to expect.

Since this was an independent short, it was a bit hard to just jump into the story where it began. It’s quite a different world from anything I’ve ever read from him so it took me a while to adjust to the feel, the characters, and the general conflict. The story was interesting once I got a firm grasp on it but I think the world building and character development would have really benefitted from a full novella instead of just a quick short.

I wasn’t totally in love but there were some really nice twists packed into a very short story! That’s one thing that Sanderson always seems to accomplish. I wasn’t wholly satisfied with the way the story closed but overall, it was enjoyable. I think I had wished for more since it didn’t quite wow me but I’m glad I read it!


Mini-Review: Firstborn | DNF Report: Proof of Forever, An Ember in the Ashes, The Eye of the WorldTitle: Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
Publishing Info: June 2, 2015 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Time Travel
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 27, 2015 | DNF at approx 25%

Before: It was the perfect summer of first kisses, skinny-dipping, and bonfires by the lake. Joy, Tali, Luce, and Zoe knew their final summer at Camp Okahatchee would come to an end, but they swore they’d stay friends.
After: Now, two years later, their bond has faded along with those memories.
Then: That is, until the fateful flash of a photo booth camera transports the four of them back in time, to the summer they were fifteen—the summer everything changed.
Now: The girls must recreate the past in order to return to the present. As they live through their second-chance summer, the mystery behind their lost friendship unravels, and a dark secret threatens to tear the girls apart all over again.
Always: Summers end. But this one will change them forever.


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When I first heard about this book, I was REALLY excited for the concept. I always love time-travel novels so I was really anxious to pick this one. Looking back, I probably should have thought about this a bit more… It’s not so much time travel as traveling back into one’s past. The time travel elements I seem to enjoy the most are individuals who physically move through time (so for example, like Back to the Future when even if you travel back/forward in time, there is still a past-you who exists in that time period). PROOF OF FOREVER was much more like (in fact, almost identical to) the Hot Tub Time Machine concept — going back into one’s own past and actually reliving that chain of events as oneself instead of being able to view it as an outsider. Long story short, this concept just felt incredibly cheesy and kind of irritating to me as a reader.

I actually loved Hot Tub Time Machine but the concept worked for me, I think, because it was a comedy. It’s poking fun at itself (I mean, how goofy is that) so it all just sort of works. PROOF OF FOREVER has a contemporary feel but it’s much more on the serious side so without that humor, the concept really just fell flat for me and I couldn’t help but make comparisons to the movie the whole time I read. I really tried not to but there were too many parallels that really stood out for me.

The book also read very young for me. Each girl’s voice sounded a lot younger than… 17? 18? And I’m of course assuming each girl will learn some valuable life-lessons and to grow throughout the book, but they were really hard to relate to in the beginning and I didn’t feel the desire to witness that change. The four different POVs also felt very unnecessary. The different voices were all written in third person so it felt awkward to have that POV shift. It sort of felt like it was originally written in first person and then was changed to third? It works for some books but it just didn’t seem like the right choice for this one (or at least it just didn’t work for me).

I found myself not enjoying the writing really at all and I didn’t really care to see what happened to the characters. I was discussing with someone else who was reading at the same time and ended up getting the rest of the scoop from her to see if I even wanted to continue and I’m kind of glad I didn’t. This one just was not the right match for me.


Mini-Review: Firstborn | DNF Report: Proof of Forever, An Ember in the Ashes, The Eye of the WorldTitle: An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir
Publishing Info: April 28, 2015 by Penguin
Source: ALAMW15, Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 5, 2015 | DNF at approx. 25%

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.


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This was a tough decision for me. There’s been lots of hype about this book — even before its release — and I was so excited for Steve West and Fiona Hardingham to narrate that I pre-ordered the audio. I NEVER pre-order an audio. Ever. I was so excited to listen to them narrate, claiming I could listen to them read the phone book and I would still just love the sound of their voices… But then I went and ate my words because I just didn’t feel the desire to keep listening to this book even with two of my favorite narrators bringing it to life. (There’s also possibly the issue that I LOVED Steve and Fiona so much in The Scorpio Races that they will always be Sean and Puck to me so it was just too hard to adjust to them narrating something new.)

I think I could have fallen in love with the audio and adjusted to my favorites narrate something new but… really the story wasn’t grabbing me either, and if you don’t get along with the heart of the story, there’s really no hope for narrators saving it. I actually really loved the first couple of chapters. The beginning was exciting, lively, and suspenseful.. but from there my interest waned and somehow the sharpness of the book started to slowly dull.

I didn’t really like either of the main characters very much. Laia seemed very blah and one-dimensional and it seemed like her personality flip-flopped a lot. She went from being paralyzed with fear to being take-charge. She was terrified and then brave. I suppose that is how real life works and we force ourselves into situations when life makes us do so but the transition or decision to go from terrified to brave just didn’t feel natural. It seemed like a light switch was flipped instead of seeing that internal conflict and Laia pushing herself to work past her fear.

Elias was all right but again, seemed very blah to me. He was excellent, he was special, and of course all he wanted was to be normal. To NOT be where he was, to not be related to who he was… Of course things go deeper than that but it felt like Laia was exactly one side of the spectrum and Elias was Laia’s exact opposite. She felt weaker, he felt stronger. She was outcast, he was in the midst of the elite. They felt a bit too polarized and it just sort of irked me.

I also wasn’t a fan of a few of the plot points. Too many things felt familiar or tired, like I had read it all before. I made some direct parallels to other books and other things just seemed to convenient. (Oh look, a random prophecy that came out of nowhere! And of course it involves the boy who doesn’t want it! And it comes with very, very specific rules! How convenient!) I just felt like I had read it before and it was done better.

I really struggled to put this one down because so many people had loved it… But I shared my feelings on social media and found that there were a lot of people who really didn’t as well. The ones who felt similarly to the way I was feeling said it really didn’t get much better for them. Others said they chose to DNF as well. I was hoping I could get back into the story but I think I would continue to have the same issues. I just think this book wouldn’t get much better for me so I should devote my reading time to something I would enjoy more.


Mini-Review: Firstborn | DNF Report: Proof of Forever, An Ember in the Ashes, The Eye of the WorldTitle: The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time #1) by Robert Jordan
Publishing Info: November 15, 1990 by Tor Books
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 5, 2015 | DNF at approx. 40%

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

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I picked up THE EYE OF THE WORLD for a couple reasons — firstly that Alyssa was loving it and she’s been giving me great fantasy recs lately and secondly that Brandon Sanderson eventually picked up this series after Robert Jordan’s death. Where I went wrong though is that Alyssa actually didn’t recommend this one to me. She and Amy were reading it and I wanted to join in the fun too but I didn’t realize she had a very good reason for not recommending it to me too. It’s just not a Brittany book.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the book but it’s just not my type of pacing, really. It felt slow and I even through the action scenes, I never really got into it. Part of it is that it’s the whole “journey” concept. It’s been compared to The Lord of the Rings (I guess) in that sense and that was one of the reasons I really couldn’t get into that series either (yes. It’s true). I’m not sure why that’s one of my issues but there’s something about it that prevents me from really getting into the book.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t liking the story but it always felt like it dragged. And for a 30-40 hour audiobook to drag. Ummm, that’s not good. I took the time to make it all the way to 40% and finally put it on hold after much debate. Then FINALLY four months later, I decided it’s time to DNF. I don’t have the heart to continue with the book and I shouldn’t have to PUSH to finish when I’m not enjoying it. This series is HUGE so what’s the point of pushing to finish a book if I’m not even going to continue the series? Just seems silly.

Again, not a bad book but I should have opened my ears before choosing it and not just picking it up because I didn’t want to be left out in my group of friends. SILLY. Also another case of a favorite narrator not being able to save a book. Don’t rely on that, friends. It doesn’t work.


Have you read any of these yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts! I know there were soooo many mixed reviews about AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. Do tell!

Firefight (The Reckoners #2) – Brandon Sanderson

Firefight (The Reckoners #2) – Brandon SandersonTitle: Firefight (The Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: January 6, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audible
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Superheroes, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 8, 2015
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

    They told David it was impossible--that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart--invincible, immortal, unconquerable--is dead. And he died by David's hand.
Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there's no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.
Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David's willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David's heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic--Firefight. And he's willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

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** This is a spoiler-free review for FIREFIGHT but there WILL be spoilers for book one, STEELHEART, if you have not read it. Readers be warned! **

Well, Brandon Sanderson, you did it again. I start a series, I binge read everything. Except unlike when I started Mistborn, I have no where else to go from here. FIREFIGHT just came out January… and I think I’ll be waiting another YEAR for CALAMITY (but then again, I guess I can always read more Sanderson books in between that time, right? RIGHT). Anyway — my point is that I just ended up loving these books so much that once I started, I couldn’t stop!!

FIREFIGHT was a special kind of book to me because so many big bullet points about it about it SHOULD have made it fall into the “second book in a series syndrome” category but it definitely did NOT. AND I REJOICED! This really made the book even more magical. I realized it while I was reading but once I finished, it dawned on me that not only was this book great in general, but Brandon Sanderson managed to turn things that I usually don’t get along with into things that I ended up loving and appreciating. I guess it really, truly does depend on the book and how it’s put together!

But that realization aside, FIREFIGHT was already awesome. The action and intensity definitely increased a notch but the same characters and overall goals were there. FIREFIGHT actually takes place halfway across the country from STEELHEART and that actually didn’t bother me like it usually does. The plot felt gracefully carried over and ultimately connected so the change in scenery was actually welcome and interesting instead of foreign. It opened up a new part of this altered world to me and I loved discovering it alongside David. (He’s also a great tour guide to follow!) Even though Steelheart has been eliminated, there are always more Epics to stop so the action definitely doesn’t stop with Steelheart’s defeat. In fact, things continue to escalate and as the characters come to know more about each Epic as well as their abilities, the plot continues to thicken!

We meet a new cast of characters to accompany some familiar faces like David and Prof. I usually have a hard time getting to know a bunch of new characters later in a series simply because I’ve become attached to the original ones, but I actually really liked the newbies too! I don’t think I connected to them AS much but I always felt like their presence was vital to the story and it was interesting to see a different string of Reckoners!

In true Sanderson form, of course there are some GREAT SURPRISES. They kill me but oh, how I love them. As you can see from my status updates below, some of them really caught me off guard and some of them absolutely terrified me but all of that really just enhanced my reading experience. Once again, I was afraid of ugly sobbing in my car as I listened to the audiobook, but that’s just a sign of a really great connection to the book so I always take that as a win! I really become attached to these characters and after I finished the book, I was already missing this crew and that feeling I had as I was reading.

FIREFIGHT just continued another great series from Brandon Sanderson and I will constantly be awaiting his next book so I can quickly gobble it up and then feel full and hollow all at once! I’m so glad to have started this series and I’ll be anxiously awaiting CALAMITY to see what in the world will possibly happen next!

(And yes, Megan is noticeably absent from my review. I had to go find out what happened to her, where she went, and what everything means for her and David in this book so you will too! Trust me — it’s all worth it.)

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Thank you again to Audible for hooking me up with this audiobook to review! As always, MacLeod Andrews is flawless. I just LOVE his narration and GOSH, these books. I mean, between Sanderson and his narration, I just FEEL all the feels, you know? These aren’t even crying books but somehow I sobbed at both. A huge bravo and I highly recommend his narrations!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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David // Character Obsessions: Megan, heroism, answers, teamwork, improvising.
I still love David. He just feels like such a REAL person. Maybe he reminds me of someone I know? But there’s just something about him that makes him so charismatic. He really just leaps off the page and I totally have a soft spot for him!
Epics // Character Obsessions: Power, domination, control.
WELL. There were some new characters in this book, but I’d rather talk about the Epics for a minute. The reader really gets to peel another layer back in the history and functionality of the Epics and it is just SO interesting. I love seeing even further into what makes them tick and I can’t wait to see what other kind of information pops up in the next book!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Book two, apparently! I can really think of soooo many times that book two has been my least favorite in a series and somehow FIREFIGHT just totally blew me away. This is what a second book SHOULD feel like!
Left Me Wanting More: Original team. I actually wasn’t missing them as much as I normally would but I really did miss the other pieces of the original team that didn’t travel with David and Prof. Wondering if there will be a big reunion in the last book? I’m hoping everything comes back together because I grew to love them and want to see them back in the action!

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

Ahhhh I am so in love with this series. Something about it is just so refreshing and addicting. I’m already anxious for more and this book only just came out!

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BOOKS LIKE FIREFIGHT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

VICIOUS   READY PLAYER ONE

Mitosis (The Reckoners #1.5) – Brandon Sanderson

Mitosis (The Reckoners #1.5) – Brandon SandersonTitle: Mitosis (The Reckoners #1.5) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: December 3, 2013 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audible
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Superheroes, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 29, 2015
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

    From "New York Times" bestselling author Brandon Sanderson's action-packed novel "Steelheart" comes "Mitosis," a short story set in the world of The Reckoners series, exclusively available in the digital format.
Steelheart may be dead, but Epics still plague Newcago and David and the Reckoners have vowed to fight back.
Catch all the action before "Firefight," the exciting sequel to "Steelheart," hits shelves in January 2015

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MITOSIS was a really fun short story! I know not everyone is a fan of novellas and for STEELHEART fans who are in the same boat, you don’t NEED to read it but you may WANT to read it! Firstly because it’s Sanderson and it’s just plain fun, but also because the novella does set up a few points for FIREFIGHT.

MITOSIS is a quick in-between story to bridge the gap between STEELHEART and FIREFIGHT and the focus is more on David and less on the Reckoners as a team. They’re still working together but not all of the characters appear on scene, so to speak. It’s a quick hunt to take down another Epic and this one happens to be important for FIREFIGHT because he brings up a few good ideas and points when the characters start to theorize some more. Obviously I won’t go into the details, but this is also one of the many reasons why I’m encouraging you to read the novella! I think the information comes in handy and I think it’s easier to read in MITOSIS first!

Other than that, the formula sort of follows suit from STEELHEART — David is nerdy and funny (sorry, David. You are a nerd), Epics are still terrorizing, the Reckoners are awesome. I don’t want to say TOO much more about it because the novella isn’t incredibly long but I had so much fun listening to it and it made me even more exited for FIREFIGHT — so much that I had to start it right away! (Seems to be a trend with me and Sanderson books.)

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE MITOSIS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

VICIOUS   READY PLAYER ONE

Steelheart (The Reckoners #1) – Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart (The Reckoners #1) – Brandon SandersonTitle: Steelheart (The Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: September 24, 2013 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Gift
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Superheroes, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 29, 2015
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

    Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.
Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.
And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning - and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.
He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

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I became a BIG Brandon Sanderson fan this past year… and luckily for me, after I binge-read the Mistborn series, there were still plenty of books for me to catch up on! Naturally, being a mostly YA reader and with the release of the second book in Sanderson’s Reckoners series FIREFIGHT, STEELHEART was high on my radar! When Audible contacted me to see if I was interested in the audio, it was the final gentle push to start this series immediately — and I was more than happy to!

STEELHEART was excellent. So far from Sanderson I’ve read high fantasy, fantasy meets steampunk meets Western, and mystery meets psychological so I was already fairly convinced that Sanderson can dabble in anything he wants to and I will straight-up love it. From the synopsis I gathered that STEELHEART was more superheroes meets dystopian and that was fairly spot on. It’s definitely more of a superhero/science fiction feel in somewhat dystopian society and I really just gobbled it up!.

The characters, as always, are excellent. Each character has SUCH personality and they really just leap off the page (or in my case, make themselves individual while I listen to the audiobook). David is an excellent main character and he’s just so relatable. He’s got it out for Steelheart ever since a life-altering event when he was a kid and ten years later, all of his well-laid plans are finally starting to come together when he comes across the Reckoners — a group of individuals who hunt down Epics. I loved David so much because HE’S not the superhero. He’s an average kid who had some stuff happen in his life and he does what he has to in order to get by. He’s clever, crafty, detail-oriented, and also your average guy/teenager who wants to be the badass who gets to hunt Epics and do some cool movie-type stunts (but in real life). He works hard for what he wants but he’s also very passionate too (which also tends to get in his way).

The other characters are great too. It’s another fantastic ensemble and a really great range of people and personalities. They don’t always all get along perfectly, but they come together to form a really cohesive team. I LOVED the banter between Megan and David (bring on the banter!!!!) and he really took it so well. David always cracked me up and even when he was having a hard time with things, he was a really easy-going person and took everything in stride.

The overall concept was really interesting as well! I love how the Epics were superhero-types but… they weren’t the good guys! And the limitations and structure of their abilities was so well-crafted and cleverly explored as the plot progressed. I really liked how STEELHEART was a sort of mash-up of so many elements that just clicked. A bit dystopian from the current state of the US after the Epic takeover and tyranny, a bit fantasy from the Epic powers BUT more science-fiction based on how they came about (that we know of so far) and of course overall action and adventure with a little bit of romance.

STEELHEART was so excellent. I laughed, I gasped, I even ugly cried, you guys. Who expected that? (But it IS Sanderson and sometimes he just hits you where you least expect it.) I loved the feel, I loved the plot, I loved the characters and of course, I will be coming back for more!

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

A big thank you to Audible for approaching me to try the audio version of STEELHEART! I actually didn’t even check out who the narrator was before I started (oops, that’s not always a good move) but I was in good hands with MacLeod Andrews! I was so excited to find out he was the narrator for STEELHEART because I had previously listened to Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown and just loved his narration on that. His voicing of the characters was fantastic — each very unique and always so genuine. I fell right into the book and could really just picture in my head almost like I was watching a movie. If you’re looking for a good audiobook, this is one I highly recommend!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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David // Character Obsessions: Steelheart, the Reckoners, revenge, looking cooool.
David was the best. He was kind, funny, determined, smart and he had just SUCH a big personality! He was hilarious and definitely the kind of guy that I always root for! Just loved him.
Megan // Character Obsessions: Teamwork, plans, action.
Megan was my other favorite — and naturally, since she was pretty much the other main character. She dished everything back to David and he handled with ease… but I also wanted to break that steely exterior (no pun indended) SO BADLY. By the end of this book, I was totally shipping them. HARD.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Superheroes! Well, they were called Epics, but the concept is more or less the same. I don’t think I’ve read a superhero book before!!!
Left Me Wanting More: Answers! Not like there weren’t enough, but I love how Sanderson sets up SERIES with series-long questions and discoveries… too bad I’m impatient and want them all nowwwww.

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

I am even more so a Sanderson fan now but if you haven’t read his adult books yet, you should start off with this YA series! It was SO much fun and incredibly interesting. It really had it all for me!

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BOOKS LIKE STEELHEART

(Click the cover to see my review!)

VICIOUS               READY PLAYER ONE

Mini-Reviews: The Emperor’s Soul, The Snow Queen, The Eleventh Metal, Snow White & Rose Red, Finger Lickin’ Fifteen

Naturally at the end of the year, I read a bunch of novellas to help me meet my reading challenge (no shame) but also because I got a bit restless in reading and needed to actually finish a few books. Here are some mini reviews  for a few of those books!


Mini-Reviews: The Emperor’s Soul, The Snow Queen, The Eleventh Metal, Snow White & Rose Red, Finger Lickin’ FifteenTitle: The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: October 11, 2012 by Tachyon Publications
Source: Audible
Genres: Fantasy, Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 25, 2014
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

A heretic thief is the empire’s only hope in this fascinating tale that inhabits the same world as the popular novel, Elantris.
Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skillful magic. Condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor’s scepter, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Though her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead.
Probing deeply into his life, she discovers Emperor Ashravan’s truest nature—and the opportunity to exploit it. Her only possible ally is one who is truly loyal to the emperor, but councilor Gaotona must overcome his prejudices to understand that Shai’s forgery is as much artistry as it is deception.
Brimming with magic and political intrigue, this deftly woven fantasy delves into the essence of a living spirit.

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THE EMPEROR’S SOUL took me a while to get into and I’m not sure why. The usual Sanderson genius was there but I think I was just incredibly restless when I started listening to this audio and I just wanted to zip through it. (Always a downfall of mine.) I really did like the different setting and Eastern influence — there’s an afterword in the book too which explains how Sanderson came up with the ideas for this novella’s magic system and it’s really quite fascinating how he pulled that little bit from actual history.

I really enjoyed the characters and how Shai’s story developed. I liked her a lot. I think I was thrown off because I was listening to the audio and although yes, Vin is a main character in the Mistborn books, I’ve only ever listened to male narrators for Sanderson books before (thanks, Michael Kramer!) so it was kind of weird listening to a female narrator.

Things really got going in the end and the action picked up a lot! I love how the story ended and it was definitely riveting. I know that this takes place in the same world as Elantris but Nikki also said it’s not really quite the same concept so I’m doubly excited for Elantris and seeing where that book will take me!


Mini-Reviews: The Emperor’s Soul, The Snow Queen, The Eleventh Metal, Snow White & Rose Red, Finger Lickin’ FifteenTitle: The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen
Publishing Info: December 12, 2014 by Audible Studios
Source: Audible
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 15, 2014

Audible's 2014 Narrator of the Year Julia Whelan performs one of Hans Christian Andersen's most beloved fairy tales, The Snow Queen. This classic tale is a fantastical fable of two dear friends - one of whom goes astray and is literally lost to the north woods, while the other undertakes an epic journey to rescue him. This charming, strange, and wonderful story is a timeless allegory about growing up and the challenges of staying true to one's self, and it served as the wintry inspiration for the blockbuster hit Frozen.

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Yes, this is “advertised” as the inspiration for Frozen and I know, I know — I knew it wasn’t going to be Frozen. I probably sound totally uncultured by hoping it was going to be like Frozen and it’s not haha! But hey, I love the Disney movie and as most of us know, I don’t do terribly well with original versions of fairy tales.

So THE SNOW QUEEN. It was very short and really not what I was expecting. I knew it wasn’t going to be like a Disney movie, but since that was all I really had to go on, it was a bit surprising in a way. I was thrown off by the fact that it was broken up into seven parts — seven different “stories”. Really it just was not captivating to me at all — and that has nothing to do with the fact that it wasn’t Disney-fied. I tried to focus but my brain was just not having it. I think I could have connected to the story but the way it was told felt roundabout and like it dragged on, and that’s not a good feeling to have for an audiobook that I can finish in a day!

I actually really did find myself interested in the actual story of the magical broken glass but for some reason I just couldn’t get into it. I’m actually really not that into Juila Whelan as a narrator either so that probably didn’t help. This one just wasn’t for me.


Mini-Reviews: The Emperor’s Soul, The Snow Queen, The Eleventh Metal, Snow White & Rose Red, Finger Lickin’ FifteenTitle: The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: July 1, 2012 by Independent
Source: Read for free online
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 16, 2014
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

The Eleventh Metal is a Mistborn short (really not longer than a few pages) originally created for the Mistborn Adventure Game for people who have not read the series. It delves into Kelsier's time shortly after becoming a Mistborn. This sort of begins his obsession with the Eleventh Metal and what it can do, also showing some of his training on becoming a great Mistborn fighter. 

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There is no Goodreads description for this one so that little section up there is my own — I LOVED this short story. Of course after binging the entire Mistborn series, I was dying for more, especially in the original world (I love you, Alloy of Law, but I miss the original crew). I was SO HAPPY to see Kelsier again and it’s almost comical to read a short like this when I know what I do now about the eleventh metal and what comes after that. It was so incredibly nice to spend more time with Kelsier though and I just LOVE getting more backstory from original characters. It’s so cozy to hop back inside of that world again!

This one was really only a couple of pages (if spanned out into pages — I read it on Sanderson’s website) so there’s not a WHOLE lot to say about it but I highly recommending taking the few minutes to read this if you haven’t and you’re a Mistborn fan!


Mini-Reviews: The Emperor’s Soul, The Snow Queen, The Eleventh Metal, Snow White & Rose Red, Finger Lickin’ FifteenTitle: Snow White And Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede
Publishing Info: January 1, 1970 by Macmillan
Source: Library
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 28, 2014

THE FAIRY TALE SERIES — Created by Terri Windling — ONCE UPON A TIME... — ...fairy tales were written for young and old alike; it is only in the last century that they have been deemed fit only for children and stripped of much of their original violence, sensuality, and power to frighten and delight. — Patricia C. Wrede, the best-selling author of Caught In Crystal and other beloved fantasy novels, brings Snow White and Rose Red back to an adult audience, in this romantic and magical retelling set in the enchanted forests of England at the time of Queen Elizabeth.
Tor Books is proud to present the latest offering in the Fairy Tale Series -- a growing library of beautifully-designed original novels by acclaimed writers of fantasy and horror, each retelling a classic tale such as Snow White and Rose Red, Briar Rose, and Tam Lin in interesting -- often startling -- new ways.


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I read SNOW WHITE AND ROSE RED with Alyssa & Amy for our December On the Same Page read (it’s one of Alyssa’s favorites) and after not liking Amy’s favorite, I was terrified. I got a couple pages into the book and was like, “Holy cow. That’s a lot of thee & thou & thy.” But as I read on, it really wasn’t as daunting as it first seemed. I’m not used to the language so yes, it did affect my read a little bit because I had to concentrate more, but overall, the book was very enjoyable!

SNOW WHITE AND ROSE RED is actually one fairy tale I remember reading as a kid (at least I THINK I read the original…) and it stuck out in my mind. I really enjoyed Patricia C. Wrede’s adaptation and how she changed the tale in little ways to make it her own story and these changes actually really helped me grow attached to the book too. I’m notoriously hesitant about fairy books but after falling in love with books like Heir of Fire and A Court of Thorns and Roses, I’m definitely coming around so I was so happy to see that not only was it something that I wasn’t afraid of in SWRR but also something that I enjoyed.

I loved the characters and they totally made the book for me. They were SO much fun with so much personality. I’m glad I was pushed to read this one with Alyssa & Amy because I would not have done it without them!


Mini-Reviews: The Emperor’s Soul, The Snow Queen, The Eleventh Metal, Snow White & Rose Red, Finger Lickin’ FifteenTitle: Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15) by Janet Evanovich
Publishing Info: June 23, 2009 by St. Martin's Press
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 29, 2014
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1), Hardcore Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum #24), The Heist (Fox & O'Hare #1), Look Alive Twenty-Five (Stephanie Plum #25), Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum #26)

Unbuckle your belt and pull up a chair. It's the spiciest, sauciest, most rib-sticking Plum yet.
Receipe for disaster: Celebrity chef Stanley Chipolte comes to Trenton in a barbecue cookoff and loses his head - literally.
Throw in some spice: Bail bonds office worker Lula is witness to the crime, and the only one she'll talk to is Trenton cop Joe Morelli.
Pump up the heat: Chipotle's sponsor is offering a million-dollar reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the capture of the killers.
Stir the pot: Lula recruits bounty hunter Stephanie Plum to help find he killer and collect the moolah.
Add a secret ingredient: Stephanie Plum's Grandma Mazur. Enough said.
Bring to a boil: Stephanie Plum is working overtime tracking felons for the bonds office at night and snooping for security expert Carlos Manoso, aka Ranger, during the day. Can Stephanie hunt down two killers, a traitor, and five skips, keep her grandmother out of the sauce, and solve Ranger's problems and not jump his bones?
Warning: Habenero hot. So good you'll want seconds.

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I usually write up full reviews but really once you review a Stephanie Plum book, you kind of review them all as far as plot goes! Don’t get me wrong — I really enjoyed it! These books are always so quick and easy to read and I finished this audio VERY quickly. The plot never really changes — Stephanie needs to pick up bad guys. She’s constantly back and forth between Morelli & Ranger. Lula and Grandma muck things up. Cars blow up. Stephanie gets covered in something (flour, sauce, paint, etc). Good guys win in the end. Yet somehow Janet Evanovich still manages to write these books in a way that’s always entertaining to me! (If sometimes over the top)

This one was a bit more entertaining than the last. I felt like it wasn’t as goofy (although it still had its moments of course) but the plot felt more concrete and more mystery than just chasing bad guys and hunting down skips. I really enjoyed the plot (an actual murder mystery!) and sure, things got goofy, but it was all-around enjoyable and I will keep on reading this series!

Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2) – Brandon Sanderson

Title: Legion (Legion #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Completed: December 13, 2014
Source: Audiobook purchased from Audible
Find it Online: Goodreads // Amazon
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) // The Well of Ascention (Mistborn #2) // The Hero of Ages (MIstborn #3) // The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4)

     Stephen Leeds, AKA ‘Legion,’ is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the story begins, Leeds and his ‘aspects’ are drawn into the search for the missing Balubal Razon, inventor of a camera whose astonishing properties could alter our understanding of human history and change the very structure of society.

Title: Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2) by Brandon Sanderson
Completed: December 13, 2014
Source: Audiobook purchased from Audible
Find it Online: Goodreads // Amazon
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) // The Well of Ascention (Mistborn #2) // The Hero of Ages (MIstborn #3) // The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4)

     Stephen Leeds, AKA “Legion,” is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the new story begins, Leeds and his “aspects” are hired by I3 (Innovative Information Incorporated) to recover a corpse stolen from the local morgue. But there’s a catch. The corpse is that of a pioneer in the field of experimental biotechnology, a man whose work concerned the use of the human body as a massive storage device. He may have embedded something in the cells of his now dead body. And that something might be dangerous…
What follows is a visionary thriller about the potential uses of technology, the mysteries of the human personality, and the ancient human need to believe that death is not the end. Legion: Skin Deep is speculative fiction at it most highly developed. It reaffirms Sanderson’s place as one of contemporary fiction’s most intelligent—and unpredictable—voices.
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Well, let’s first say OOPS. I was so excited about getting the free ebook from Audible for LEGION: SKIN DEEP that I didn’t realize that was book two in stead of book one in this series of novellas (also an issue I have when series titles end up being book titles too) so I listened to the second one first and the first one second. Actually, I think I ended up liking LEGION: SKIN DEEP better because of that! (Though I would have liked it better either way… Okay, I’m just rambling.

Anyway — I really enjoyed these novellas! They were a bit more science-fiction than fantasy with a psychological twist. Since I actually read the second one first, I got more info about Stephen Leeds than is divulged in the first book (obviously) but I didn’t really feel lost either. His aspects were incredibly interesting and there were some hints at what exactly they were — or weren’t — that kept me guessing. I really loved the various characters — both real and imaginary — and it was really interesting to see how the scenes unfolded when Leeds was the only person who could see and interact with this aspects.

SKIN DEEP had much more of a plot than LEGION (it was much longer as well) so that was my favorite of the two. I sort of just felt like I was catching up and there wasn’t a whole ton of substance to the original novella besides the introduction that I’d already received (plus some plot, but the fact that I had the bulk of this knowledge about the aspects kind of slowed the book down a bit for me — my own fault, obviously). Reading these two really had me craving more, though! I can’t wait for the next novella and I love that I was able to read (listen) to this so quickly!

Even though they were novellas, they still had plenty of plot (especially book two) and I was really hooked on the second book! I love that it was a bit more mystery and sci-fi than fantasy this time around and I can’t wait to see where else this series plot goes because so far I’m definitely intrigued and very excited!

Audible also offered me a free clip to include in my review for anyone who’s interested in the books and also the audio! Check out a little slice of LEGION: SKIN DEEP below!

LEGION: SKIN DEEP audio sample

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Stephen Leeds // Character Obsessions: Mysteries, his aspects, logic.
I really like Leeds. His character is so interesting and I love the concept of the aspects. It’s not quite schizophrenia, not quite dissociative identity disorder… So what is it? Ooh I can’t wait. I really loved this character overall and his though process — along with what his aspects provide to him — really was fascinating.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Novella SERIES? I’ve never read a novella/short story series before! It’s really interesting and so much fun to zip through and not feel weighted down by another series. (I mean, I LOVE series, but I’m still in the middle of so many!!) It’s a very cool concept!
Left Me Wanting More: Plot. I actually got a lot of plot in the second book but the first felt just a bit slow; however, after finishing LEGION: SKIN DEEP, I cannot WAIT for more of this little series!

Addiction Rating
Read them!

If you’re not quite a fantasy person, these are some great Sanderson books to try out. I love his writing and cleverness and these were really fun mysteries with a psychological twist!

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

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