The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams

Warning! This review makes reference to events from Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. These events may be considered spoilers for that series.

Well, it feels good to be back in Osten Ard! The Witchwood Crown takes place thirty years after the events in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. Simon and Miriamele are still on the throne. Some of our old favorites are back, including Count Eolair, Binabik, Tiamak and others.  Once again, as is usually the case, there is a rising threat from the Norns, and possibly from other sources.

Without giving too much away, the story seemed to have an air of impending doom. I kept thinking that at some point,Simon, Miriamele, or others may die. Obviously, I won’t give anything away, but there was a sense that anything bad could happen at any moment. That could be influenced by the stories I have read since Memory, Sorrow and Thorn was first published. Nonetheless, it brought a nice tension to the story. I wanted this story to be an introduction to the next generation- a passing of the torch. Simon and Miriamele are still the main characters, and I am anticipating that the next book will have the next generation closer to front and center.

We say goodbye to some old characters, and are introduced to some new ones. The politics of the world have expanded. I look forward to spending more time in Nabban and amongst the Thrithings folk. Their stories are featured more prominently and expands the world much more than in the original trilogy. We get to see more of the politics of the world and all of its complexities. It feels like a more sophisticated and complicated Often Ard. That’s a good thing. We get to spend more time with the Norns, too. If you read The Heart of What Was Lost, you will recognize some of the Norn characters. These people can really hold a grudge!

And, for those who were wondering, the fate of Josua, Vorsheva and their children is explored in this book. I was able to correctly guess some things, but not others. The reveal was very well done and absolutely worth the wait.

One thing I did have trouble with were the actions and decision making of Simon and Miriamele. I didn’t think some of their decisions really made sense, and they only made those decisions in order to move certain characters around in preparation for the main story arc. Miriamele in particular seemed harsh, and Simon didn’t seem to have matured into his role as king.

The story has some surprises, mystery and betrayal. All of the ingredients for a masterful  trilogy.

Lilypad Rating: LilyPadLilyPadLilyPadLilyPad out of 5

The Faithful and the Fallen Series by John Gwynne

The first book in this series, Malice, had been on my “to read” list for at least a couple years. I think I even read the sample twice during that time. Since the fourth and final book in the series was published last year, I figured I should go ahead and give it a try. I’m glad I did.

This is a four book fantasy series set not in your typical medieval European type setting, but probably in a time before that. No knights in armor (I don’t think the word “knight” is used once) but nations with war bands and short swords. Archers are mainly used as hunters, and battles are basically one big melee, and whoever has the most people standing at the end wins. Nations/regions ruled by kings, but loosely and informally tied together under a “high king”. The high king doesn’t have much or any real power. There are also angel and demon like beings, ancient artifacts of immense power and a little bit of magic thrown in. The setting is very reminiscent of Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, or The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell.

Anyway, the four books in the series are:

  1. Malice
  2. Valor
  3. Ruin
  4. Wrath

The story turns the “farm boy who is really a king/savior” trope on its head. Yes there is a farm boy type protagonist, and yes he has a “destiny”, but it doesn’t play out the way you might expect. There’s also a prince who believes he has a “destiny” as well, and that has an interesting twist, too. There are several point of view characters, each chapter dedicated to one viewpoint. The very basic premise is that the “bad” guys are trying to bring there leader back from the Otherworld, so that he can reign over our world full of humans. The “good” guys, of course, are trying to stop him. There are a group of ancient artifacts needed to bring the evil leader to our world, so there is a search for those as well. There are giants, giant bears, giant wolves and talking ravens and crows! I’m being very simplistic with this plot description because anymore detail will give away some of the twists to the tropes.

The writing in the first book was a little rough. Characters were doing a lot of grunting and snorting. In the next book, Valor, that was largely absent. Really, the grunting happened often enough to where it became distracting.  Like the skirt smoothing in the Wheel of Time series (which I do recommend, by the way.)

There is a strong emphasize on friendships. There are romances, but the focus is on the non-romantic bonds formed between the characters. The romances are pretty basic, there’s enough there to make you believe them and root for them, but the outcome of the story does not hinge on the romantic involvement of any two characters. The romance informs the decisions that some of the characters make, and it has its consequences, but it doesn’t seem forced or ham-fisted.

It was nice to have points of view from both sides of the conflict. It gives you a sense of the reason why people are making the decisions they are making. Very often the evil characters are evil just because they are evil.  It also shows how sometimes “good” and “bad” just depends on where you’re standing.

The story was very compelling. I cared about the characters and what happened to them. I was sad when characters died, and cheered when they came out on top. As with many of today’s fantasy novels, main characters die- some tragically, some heroically. The ending is bittersweet, but definitely satisfying.

I did have a couple of quibbles. Some of the characters that needed to die, took an awful long time to die. Its the evil character that seems to be immortal. No matter how many times they are stabbed, ambushed, or seem to be in an impossible situation, they manage to escape. That frustrated me a bit. While the ancient artifacts were clearly important, we only knew the purpose or power of some of them. The others didn’t seem to have a power or function. It could’ve been that the knowledge was lost, but it was never brought up.

It doesn’t appear that there will be anymore stories with these characters, but I wouldn’t mind a follow up story where we catch up with theses characters several years later. There are definitely more stories to tell.

 

Lily Pad Rating: LilyPadLilyPadLilyPadLilyPad

 

 

12 Monkeys, Season 3

Well, SyFy really wanted to mess with us didn’t they? The whole season in one weekend? I’m still not sure how I feel about that. It was nice to binge it, but I would rather binge in my own time and in my own way. So now the wait for season 4 (the final season) is going to feel twice as long. Anyway, these are my thoughts on season 3. This is a general overview, not an episode by episode recap. Therefore, spoilers for all of season 3 are ahead.I’m going to try to go in order here, but I may end up skipping around. So many thoughts!

Lets’ start with the first 4 episodes that aired Friday, May 19th. It was a nice arc, since it ended with Cole and Cassie reuniting and the death of Ramse. The introduction of the personal splinter machines really turned things on its head. Being able to splinter when you need to and reset the timeline when something goes wrong is a powerful tool. If the Witness is threatened, then you just splinter and reset the timeline. “Raise the Witness in the chaos of history” indeed. That has got to mess with a person, regardless of whether you are destined to destroy the world.

Cole meeting future Cole was a surprise. Future Cole was much lighter than Present Day Cole. Future Cole seemed to be at peace with what had happened. At least that was what he tried to convey to Present Day Cole. When Cassie stepped out (another surprise!), she said that Future Cole lied. What’s that about? Why did he lie? To protect the timeline? I thought it was a nice touch that this took place at the Emerson Hotel. Its there home base in every timeline. I also liked that Cole and Cassie were reunited by the end of episode 4.  It didn’t feel rushed, and it didn’t drag on too long.

Jennifer Goines is awesome. Her adventures in WWI and Paris were some of the best parts of season 3. If you hadn’t already, you really begin to feel sorry for her. She’s trapped in 1917, and has to make a way for herself for years until they find her. She tries so hard to leave clues with no results. Her one woman shows were brilliant! When Cole and Jones finally find her, they don’t even care about what she’s been through. She’s just another tool, not a real person who’s a member of the team. I was glad that when the timeline was reset, Cole treated her with the respect she deserved. Go Jennifer!

There were only 4 guardians assigned to protect the Witness. The 12 Monkeys didn’t seem to have a plan for how to replace a guardian who dies. Maybe they thought it wouldn’t matter because they could always reset the timeline? It would seem that you would do that sparingly, and only when it was absolutely necessary to save the Witness.

Ramse and Olivia, together again! You always know that Olivia is up to something. Why would you ever trust her? Jennifer was right- she is always exactly where she wants to be. 23 years she had Sam?! My first thought was that Sam himself was important, but it was really a way to get Ramse where he needed to be, which would in turn get Olivia where she needed to be- at the laboratory. Such an elaborate plan, but it worked. The key to getting Ramse to do what you want is through his son that he knew for like, 2 days. What was interesting about Olivia in this season was that she was much more animated, and less stoic. We see some emotion from her, which I’m sure was all calculated on her part. Her torture scene was a bit too much for me, but it shows how cold Jones and Olivia have become. Jones, even after getting Hannah back, still is completely single minded in destroying the witness, and so is Olivia. Both will do anything, suffer anything, and sacrifice anything to achieve that goal. Has all of this happened before? Olivia knew about Cole and Cassie’s child, and told Ramse, knowing that he would be willing to kill Cassie, so the witness will never be born.

Goodbye, Ramse. Now we don’t have to watch you make bad decision after bad decision, all for a son you barely know. But with all the time travel, will we see him again? Also, why did he never take his gloves off? Even when he was at the hotel with Cole in 2007, he was drinking and still had his gloves on. That annoyed me.

Night 2 was only three episodes. That was a good thing because there was way too much plot to process with 4 episodes. I know I am skipping over a lot of stuff, but these are things that stood out to me…some are important, others not so much. I wonder if it would have been better for Cassie and Cole to just tell everyone who the Witness was. Olivia was able to figure it out, according to her, and Deacon probably would’ve gotten there eventually. (Oh, and can I just say that I’m glad Deacon survived? Its like he’s the truth teller for the series. I  know he wants to have a purpose. So far its been to get Cassie out of Titan. Hopefully, he can play a bigger role next season.) Jones may have still wanted to kill the Witness, but she may have been more amenable to finding another way. I think Jones was hurt that they didn’t tell her. They didn’t trust her, so that made Cassie and Cole the enemy too.

The heist in 1989 was all kinds of wonderful. Little Jennifer is just as awesome as grown up Jennifer. Jennifer is officially a part of the team. About time! And I also love how Deacon is like the Jennifer Whisperer. He gets such a kick out of watching her go. I like how he tries to watch out for her. Glad to see Terry the Tortoise! And Gale! Nice to see him contribute more to the team. But telling him he will die in 1961, wow.  That was pretty brutal. He was already having a hard time, that just made things worse for him, I think. But as usual, he pulls through for them. Hope Valley, 1953. Whoa. That poor kid. He’s a primary, and he’s surrounded by crazy people. Was he born to be the Witness, or was he made to be the Witness? I also wonder if the lady the Witness drew was really Cassie, but the Witness intentionally pointed to the other woman instead. Had the Witness (lets call him Athan, the name Cassie gave him) had visions of his mother and father yet? I get the feeling that even at that age, he knew who they were. I do like how Athan has always been one of the voices in Jennifer’s head. He is primary after all. I believe in season 2 it was established that the primaries throughout time all can hear each other.  That is the source of the voices in their heads- the other primaries throughout time. Cool. Jones and the crew find out the identity of the Witness, and now the team have become enemies. Let time jumping games begin!

Night 3, is the final act. Cassie and Cole are splintering through time, looking for Athan, while Jones and drew chases them through time. Jones and crew is using Jennifer’s drawings to find Cassie and Cole, but of course Jennifer is also trying to protect them. Jennifer will always be Team Cole. So the last guardian encourages Athan to write the Word of the Witness, and then soon after Athan leaves to splinter himself through time. He says that this helped him to stay sane. Until of course, he falls in love and tries 607 times to save the woman he loves. Which, apparently, after failed attempt number 607, he decides that he is going to be the Evil Witness after all, and set about destroying time/the world. Because of course that’s what happens! Love makes you crazy. Or, at least the loss of it does. We get a masquerade ball, where Jones and crew catch up with Cassie and Cole. Of course, Jennifer saves the day! with fireworks!

The theme of this season seems to be of fate and destiny. Can you choose your fate? How powerful is destiny? Will time let you change your destiny? Interesting how the Witness thinks he is a primary “or some variation thereof”. What does that mean??

And Jennifer of course gets herself out of the cage so she can play her part in saving the “dying man” from her drawings. Who just happens to be the Witness. And of course, Olivia reaches the culmination of her plan, and is able to splinter to Titan, using the coordinates she received back when she took Ramse to see his grownup son. So many callbacks and pieces to the puzzle.

Cassie and Cole catchup with the witness and take him back to the house of cedar and pine. And of course, they tell him when they are, and he passes that information along to Olivia, who then uses it to help Jones and crew find them, and then everything goes haywire. Titan! Olivia! Cole and Cassie were too willing to give Athan the benefit of the  doubt. When someone shows you who they are, believe them! “My family have come for me.”

So, all this stuff about Olivia really being the Witness is problematic for me. We’ve spent a whole season trying to save the Witness who is really not the Witness? And why is Olivia the Witness? Athan says that insuring his birth insured Olivia’s. The Witness is timeless, the deceiver. But even Olivia sys that she hasn’t done those things yet. He witnessed, but is not The Witness. huh? I feel like I need to rewatch seasons 1 and 2 so I can understand Olivia better. There should be some clues in there.

So now we start a new cycle for the fourth and final season. We’ve got a new map of symbols, with Jennifer being the key to deciphering them. The serpent eating its own tail. The new symbol for next season. And Cole’s mother!! I knew she had to play some role. It was always weird that we never even saw her. Cole’s dad was adamant about protecting him, and he was always a little to accepting of this whole time traveling business,. He was emotional, but pretty calm when he met his adult son in season 1. What did he know? Who is Cole’s mother? What is Cole’s mother?! It looks like mommy issues will be a theme in season 4. And finally, has anyone ever explained where the name “12 Monkeys” came from?

And for all you Wheel of Time fans out there, in the letter Cole’s mom wrote him, she talked of the serpent eating its own tail. Is Cole’s mother an Aes Sedai!?

Is it 2018 yet?

Quick Update on Reading Round Up

A couple months ago, I posted the books I planned on reading in the first part of 2017. Well, its been slow, to say the least. I’ve been reading, but I only managed to read one of the books I listed, and that was Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I’m not giving a full review here, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had some minor quibbles with some of the time jumps, and going back to explain how a character ended up in a certain situation (not a device I am particularly fond of), but it did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the story. I was very invested in Ifemelu’s story. It’s an immigrant’s story, and a perspective that we don’t often see- that of a black African navigating race relations in the United States. Ifemelu’s perspective and how she and other Africans, particularly Nigerians, view race compared to African Americans, was something I personally had always thought about, and I enjoyed seeing that perspective fleshed out. It’s also a love story, so the separation of Ifemelu and Obinze, and the clash of cultures they both experience, are woven together very well.

I’m still anxious to read The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead. I’m getting that one from the library, and there’s a huge waiting list!

I’m up in the air about The City by Stella Gemmell. I’m not sure why, but hopefully I will get to it.

Of course, The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams will be released on June 27. The world will stop for me on that date!

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin was also on the list. For some reason I’m afraid to start this one. I enjoyed The Inheritance Trilogy, but her subsequents books really didn’t grab me. I hope to eventually give this one a try.

I just finished Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I hope to review that trilogy soon. Also, I am interesting in reading a new book, The Empire’s Ghost by Isabelle Steiger. I’d like to review this one as well.

Are you meeting your 2017 reading goals?

 

 

My Top 5 (or so) Sci-Fi/Fi Fantasy Series

This is in no particular order, although I will say that A Song of Ice and Fire is number one, with The Chronicles of Narnia as a very close number two. (Talk about polar opposites!)

  1. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin I’ve been reading this series since almost day one. I began A Game of Thrones when it was in paperback, just before A Clash of Kings was published. Re-reading and discussing theories with other fans was a new and wonderful experience for me. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the fan community back then, and even got to meet and hang out with George a tiny bit. A great life experience that I’ll never forget! Waiting patiently for The Winds of Winter
  2. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan This is an interesting one because it introduced me to online fandom. I picked up The Great Hunt, which is the second book in the series, and thought it was okay, but I felt like I was missing something. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized I had skipped the first book! So I bought The Eye of the World, and was hooked. I went online to find out when the next one was coming out. That’s when I discovered websites like wotmania.com (which is no longer active). People were discussing theories and characters, and I had no idea what they were talking about! So I re-read the books and the rest is history! Another farm boy who becomes a king…a savior…a devil? Depends on who you ask!
  3. The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weiss and Tracey Hickman Wow. DRAGONS!! This was my first real “grown up” fantasy series. Again, I read the second book in the trilogy (this seems to be a habit) and thought it was amazing! Years later, I had the pleasure of meeting Margaret Weiss and Tracey Hickman at a con. It was great to be able to tell them in person how much this series influenced my love of fantasy. This is more of the questing type story. A rag tag group of people thrown together to defeat evil. Its got elves AND dragons! Yes!
  4. Dragon Prince/Dragon Star by Melanie Rawn This story was one of my favorites because it had so many characters and everyone seemed to be related! It was like a soap opera in some ways. And I mean that as a compliment. I loved the idea of sunlight as a source for magic. Its got everything- dragons and jewels, and pretty people and romance!
  5. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis This one is near and dear to my heart. I used to read this series as a child over and over again. I spent a lot of time by myself and this series was my trusted companion. To this day, I still read this series at least a couple times a year, or I’ll listen to it on audiobook. The images and lessons from this series have stayed with me all my life. Further up and further in!
  6. Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams I’ve been talking about this series quite a bit recently since there are new Osten Ard books being published. I won’t repeat everything here, but I still gravitate towards stories similar to this one. I mean, its got elf like people! And the scullery boy who’s really a king! Classic.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

These are series that one day may creep into my top 5, but they are not quite ready yet…

  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling Loved the series, but haven’t had an interest to re-read them. If I ever do, then it may creep up on the list.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins I adore this series, even though I tend to not like first person narratives. However, I inhaled this trilogy in just a couple days. I loved the movies as well.
  • The Expanse by James S. A. Corey I typically don’t read science fiction, but I will watch it. However, this series got my hooked from day one, as I have talked about before. I will definitely need to re-read it.
  • African Immortals by Tananarive Due I want to say that this was my first introduction to African American speculative fiction, even though I had read Octavia Butler before this. However, this series was something new and unique for me. To this day I still think this series would make a fantastic movie or TV show. Immortal Africans? The blood of Jesus? You can’t miss with that!
  • The Belgariad and The Mallorean by David Eddings Looking back, The Belgariad series was not all that great , but I gobbled it up at the time. Another farm boy who becomes king! I like series with multiple countries and cultures and this one fit the bill. For my young self, it was so epic and sprawling! I used to spend almost my whole weekly allowance buying the books. Now, it’s more nostalgia that makes me add this as an honorable mention.

What are some of your favorites?

TV Round Up

Well, I did a  Reading Round-up last time, so now let’s move on to TV!

These are TV shows that I am currently watching, just finished watching, or ones that I am looking forward to. These are mostly sci/fi  and fantasy, but I did include some others. As usual, they are in no particular order. I already do more in depth pieces on 12 Monkeys and Man in the High Castle, so I won’t list them again here. These are shows that I’m not going to do regular posts about, but that I am enjoying watching. As usual, these are in no particular order.

  1. The Expanse (SyFy) I have posted about the book series already, but needless to say the TV show is fantastic. The production values are high quality for television and the story is staying very true to the spirit of the books. Season 2 is currently airing. The SyFy channel has really upped its game. Its nice to see the channel focus on good quality science fiction programming, rather than shows with only a tangental relationship to the genre. Bravo, SyFy!
  2. The Magicians (SyFy) Once again, another great series from SyFy, based on a book series (The Magicians by Lev Grossman). I like the show, however, even though I’ve read the books, the show can get a bit confusing. From episode to episode, and sometimes from scene to scene, it feels as though something is missing, whether its a scene or a whole episode. It is very jumpy. I have found that binging a few episodes at a time is helpful. Having read the books helps, but in places where they have veered very far from the books, sometimes it becomes muddled. I do recommend this series, but you have to pay close attention. No playing on your phone while watching this one!
  3. Emerald City (NBC) This show has finished its first season. It is a take on the Wizard of Oz series by L. Frank Baum. Notice I said a take on the book series, not on the movie. I’ve only read the Wizard of Oz, and if your only exposure to this story is the classic movie, well, lets just say the books are not a technicolor fantasy. Its quite dark. So, basing the tv series on the books rather than the movie was a pretty interesting take. Of course, the characters are very grey, and the story includes elements from the books that I don’t think have ever really been translated to the screen. The story has its issues, but if you are looking for something that is not just a re-make of the movie, this is worth checking out. The ratings were not that great, so I don’t know if it has been picked for a second season, but even with its future up in the air, I do recommend giving the show a try.
  4. 3% (Netflix) This one is something that I wouldn’t normally watch, but I was looking for something different, and this came up on my Neflix home page. I’m glad I took a chance! This is a Brazilian show about a future society where people are given the chance to live in a better, utopian society. However, only 3% of the candidates are taken. Those chosen to compete for a spot in the utopia are put through a series of challenges, and of course, the surviving 3% get to move “offshore” to the utopia. And, as you can imagine, this utopian society is probably not a real utopia. The show is in Portuguese, so you can watch it dubbed in English (or other languages) or use subtitles. Its a great show, and it has been picked up by Netflix for a second season.
  5. Prison Break (FOX, April 4, 2017) I was a huge Prison Break fan when the show first aired in 2005. It aired for 4 seasons, plus an extra episode called “The Final Break”. As you can guess from the title, its about a prison break. The main character comes up with an elaborate plan to get himself into the same prison where his brother is on death row, in order to break his brother out of prison. Every episode is a piece of the plan to break out. It is woven together brilliantly, and the first season is riveting.  By the 3rd and 4th seasons it got a bit convoluted,  but its still a great thrill ride. A new season is coming to FOX on April 4th, 2017. It takes place a few years after the events of season 4. You can watch all of the previous seasons on Netflix.
  6. The Americans (FX) The Americans is about Russian spies living in the U.S. in the early 80s. They are posing as your typical suburban American family. The parents are the spies, but their two kids have no idea.  I can’t say too much without spoiling it, but there is a lot of eighties nostalgia going on, in addition to all the spy stuff. Its very dark and keeps you on the edge of you seat. he episodes can get slow at times, but the precarious situations the spies get themselves into, and the lengths to which they have to go to accomplish the mission, are very intense. Highly recommended. Be forewarned that there are some graphic scenes, so if you’re squeamish, be prepared to cover your eyes. A lot. Its currently in its 5th season. Its final season (season 6) will air next year.

Other shows I’m watching include: All the Marvel Netflix shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist); Arrow, The Flash, Better Call Saul (although I am a season behind).

There’s more I could add, but this gives you an idea of what I like. What are you watching?

 

 

 

Reading Round-up

This is just a post to give everyone an idea of what I’ve been reading this month, and my anticipated reading for the next couple months.

Like many people, I have a bunch of books in my virtual “to read” pile. There are so many good books and so little time to read them. One of my goals for 2017 is to make more time for books. There’s a lot of great TV and movies out right now, and its so easy to get home from work, plop down on the couch, and flick on the TV. Rather than saving reading for the weekend, I’d like to get more reading done during the week. Anyway, here are a few of the books in my “to read” pile, and what I am currently reading right now.

Currently Reading: The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley (Book 2 of The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne). I raced through the first book in this series, The Emperor’s Blades. I haven’t read a good epic fantasy in awhile, and this one definitely filled the void. I may do a full review of the entire trilogy when I’m finished, but so far I am really enjoying this.

To Read (in no particular order):

  1. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. I’m late to the game on this one, but I’ve heard great things about it, so of course I will give it a try. It is about a slave named Cora, who, of course, uses the Underground Railroad, a network of people, places and things used by slaves escaping slavery in the American South. This novel won the National Book Award and was an Oprah Book Club pick, so of course, I must read it.
  2. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin I have read her books before, most notably The Inheritance Trilogy, and really enjoyed it. I have not been able to connect with her other books, but after reading a sample of The Fifth Season, I definitely want to give it a try. This novel won the Hugo Award for Best Novel of 2016.
  3. The City by Stella Gemmell Stella Gemmell is the wife of the late author, David Gemmell. I read David Geemmell’s trilogy, Troy, and one of his other novels, The Lion of Macedon. You can read my review of The Lion of Macedon here. David Gemmell died before he could finish the final book in the Troy trilogy, so Stella completed the novel for him. I love Greek mythology and stories from ancient Greece and Rome, and The City takes place in a similar setting. What I have read of the sample has peaked my interest, so at some point this year I will give it  a try.
  4. The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams. I am so looking forward to this! I have already posted my thoughts on Memory, Sorrow and Thorn and The Heart of What Was Lost. Needless to say, book 2 in The Last King of Osten Ard is tops for me.
  5. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I read the sample and was hooked. This is, in part, the story of a Nigerian immigrant to America, and how she grapples with her values and ideals in a post 9/11 America. These are stories we don’t hear enough about, and I can’t wait to dive into this one. Again, I’m late to the party on this one, but at least I’m getting there!

There are more on my list, but this gives you an idea of what I’m diving into in the next few months. I’m always on the lookout for new stuff, so my list will only grow.

What’s on your list?