Magic Study – Soulfinders #2 – Maria V. Snyder

I had mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed it but found something lacking. Maybe I’ll figure out what it is while I write this review.

The last book:

Yelena was raised in a country called Ixia as an orphan who was taken in, along with a bunch of other orphans, by a man who had only adopted them because of their potential magical abilities.

Ixia does not allow magicians to live within its borders. They are either killed or have escaped to their neighboring country of Sitia. Or is Sitia the only other country in this world? The author hasn’t elaborated.

Yelena, even though she was put through a ton of tests and even experienced strange things, had no idea she was magic. She ended up killing her aggressor and was awaiting her execution when she was called to the Commander’s castle. She became is food taster and fell in love with his assassin. When the Commander learned that Yelena was a magician he signed an execution order for her. It’s the law under the Code yet the Commander let Yelena slip over the border because he likes her. She had to leave Valek.

This book:

Yelena travels with one of the four Master Magicians of Sitia, along with the surviving orphans, through Sitia on their way to the Citadel for training. They drop off orphans to their families. Yelena was the last to meet her mother, father and brother.

Yelena enters the Citadel as an apprentice and discovers she is a powerful magician.

Most of this book dealt with her conflicting allegiance to both Ixia and Sitia. For some reason, she thinks the strict military dictatorship of Ixia is a better system than the freedom of Sitia. She struggles with the concept of beggars and having to buy food because everyone had a job and the government fed them in Ixia. The author didn’t explain what happened to elderly or the disabled. She seems in awe of the Commander even though he kills all magicians. Her thinking bothered me.

I was annoyed with all of the detailed magical experiences. Nothing bores me more quickly than tedious details of how a character struggles with their powers and how they can never seem to conquer their powers until they are about to die but until then, the author bombards us with the monotonous details of how the character pulls their powers from within. Ugh! I know we need to know some of it but enough is enough. I skipped a lot of it.

Another irksome thing was how Yelena always had to run off and play hero by herself. She’s just that much of a badass, at least, in the author’s eyes. To me, she was just reckless.

Okay, I think I figured it out. Yelena is just too cool to be true and she has all the answers to everything.

I’m still debating whether or not to continue reading the series. I’m leaning towards “not”.

Poison Study – Soulfinders #1 – Maria V. Snyder

I’m not sure what to think about the characters in this book. I don’t know if I like them or not because they all seem kind of cold-blooded but I have to chalk that up to the world they live in.

Here’s a country that was a corrupt kingdom until someone named Commander Ambrose took over 15 years ago but I think I would have preferred to live under the king than the Commander because it sounds like a police state where everyone has to wear uniforms according to their trade and district and have strict curfews. All magicians have been banned or executed. Most ran to the neighboring country of Sitia. Their law is something called the Code which is set in stone. Killing someone gets you death even if it was self-defense or an accident.

This is what happened to Yelena. She was raised as an orphan by General Brazell who had an orphanage. When she was sixteen, the general and his cruel son, Reyad, ripped her away from the others and started training her. When she failed to become what they wanted, the general gave her over to Reyad her tortured her. She killed him and was sent to prison for a year until her execution date.

Instead of being executed, she became the food taster for the Commander. A man named Valek trained her. In order to keep her from escaping, Valek poisoned her with something that needed a regular antidote that he alone knew what it was.

I’m not exactly sure what Valek’s position was but he seemed to be an assassin/spy for the Commander. I guess the Code allowed for it?

I liked the plot of this book but couldn’t figure out why Valek supported the Commander who is just a dictator. I think he was a total sociopath but the author tried to make the Commander seem logical, just and honest.

I am going to read the next book and see how things go before I make any harsh judgements.

Tower of Dawn – Throne of Glass #6 – Sarah J. Maas

BEST BOOK I HAVE READ IN A LONG TIME!!!

I’m in love with Sartaq! Could there be a more perfect man? He’s prince of a kingdom that I would equate to Alexandria, Egypt in ancient times and from the description that the author gave of the people of the land, I pictured a gorgeous, dark eyed, Middle-Eastern man. He’s called The Winged Prince because he leads a squadron of rukhin, men who live on the highest peaks of the land and ride giant predatory birds called ruks. He said two things to Nesryn in this book that wreaked havoc on my emotions. I can’t tell you what they were without giving away spoilers but the first one sent chills down my spine and the second had me bawling. He’s my new book boyfriend.

His brother, Kashin, wasn’t bad either but his puppy-dog love for Yrene and the way he obeyed his father without question put him out of the running for a book boyfriend. But is it bad that I wanted Kashin to win over Yrene instead of the leading male character, Chaol?

If you follow the series, you would know that the last book ended with the heroine of the story, Aelin, being captured by the evil Fae queen, Maeve.

This book wasn’t about Aelin. Well, it was but did not feature her directly. This book focused on Chaol and Nesryn who were sent off to Antica, a continent across the narrow sea to the south by King Dorian so that Chaol could find a healer for his broken back.

This story happens concurrently with the last story so Chaol and Nesryn aren’t privy to what the reader already knows and find out as they occur.

Chaol was hit in the back with the powerful evil magic of the King of Adarlan while he was possessed by a Valg prince and now Chaol’s legs do not work. Chaol was Captain of the King’s Guard but Dorian made him tge Hand of the King and made Nesryn the Captain of the King’s Guard.

Nesryn and Chaol are lovers but something cooled between them on the three week ride across the sea. Chaol became an asshole, brooding on his injuries and pushed Nesryn away. I really stopped liking Chaol so much in this book.

Healing his back isn’t their only goal. They need to get the Great Khagan to join them in the war but he won’t even have an audience with them because he’s in mourning for his youngest daughter who “jumped” from a terrace.Their arrival couldn’t have come at a worse time.

This was the best book of the series so far. It could have done without the tedious healing scenes or, at least, less of them but that didn’t make me enjoy this book any less.

A Wise Man’s Fear – The Kingkiller Chronicles #2 – Patrick Rothfuss

This book was one thousand pages long and Kvothe, the main character, had a lot of adventures.

The story is being told by an older Kvothe to a story writer called Chronicler and to Bast, Kvothe’s apprentice. Kvothe owns an inn in a small town and he goes by Kote. I’m assuming he is in hiding or just wants to live a simple life now. His older self seems to be at odds with his younger self who worked hard at building up a reputation for himself of being someone who accomplished great feats similar to the storybook legend of Taborlin the Great, a magician who could break out of doorless and windowless prisons because he knew the names of everything like wind and stone and could command them to do his bidding. The mature Kvothe seems to be subdued and may even regret some of his past.

This book starts out with Kvothe at the University, learning magic or what they call sympathy. He struggles to find money to pay his tuition each term which has been made harder by a fellow student named Ambrose, a rich noble who hates Kvothe.

Kvothe is an amazing musician who plays the lute but he can’t find a patron because Ambrose has threatened or bribed everyone within a hundred miles not to take him on as a client. Ambrose is always causing trouble for Kvothe but Kvothe gives as good as he gets. Rvery term, each student has to go in front of the Masters who ask a few questions and set tuition based on those answers. The day of Kvothe’s interview, a woman came to the inn where Kvothe was staying. She asked if he knew Ambrose, brought him a drink and sat down with him. “To Ambrose Jakis,” she said with sudden fierceness. “May he fall into a well and die.” He smelled nutmeg and plum and then she started sobbing and left the inn.

She had drugged Kvothe but he didn’t realize it until a few people told him he was acting strange and being rude. The drug brings out the worst in people or takes away their inhibitions. It takes days to leave the system so the person can act fairly normal but could take weeks or even months to wear off. Luckily, Fela switched admission days with him so he didn’t totally ruin his chances at the University.

Ambrose also had him charged with malfeasance which brought heat on the University which made the Masters nervous which would have made his tuition for the next term too high to afford. Again, luck intervened. A noble found a possible patron for Kvothe in another country. His friend said Alveron Maer was just as important and almost as powerful as the king and he had written to him and told him he was in need of an educated person who was good with words and who could travel as soon as possible. Kvothe boarded a ship to Vintas.

From there, Kvothe goes on one long adventure.

I know there is one more book coming out but it has been six years since this one was published so who knows how long it will be until the next book is published.

The Name of the Wind – The Kingkiller Chronicles #1 – Patrick Rothfuss

My son introduced me to this series and I’m glad he did. It’s not what I’m used to reading,
although I have read some fantasy.
I don’t even know where to begin. There were so many parts to this story that it is hard to  explain. I’ll do my best.
The story is told by Kvothe who started out life as a traveling trouper along with his parents. He  meets a man who teaches him how to be an arcanist, someone who can manipulate the laws of  science and nature to do magic which they call sympathy.
Kvothe learns faster than others so he learned everything within a few months. His teacher, Abenthy, told him he should go to the University when he gets older and that’s what Kvothe dreamed of until tragedy struck and his life heads in another direction.
We know Kvothe makes it out alive because he’s the one telling the story. He is an innkeeper going by the name of Kote and he seems to be hiding from someone or something but his  personality seems to have done a one-eighty. He seems calm and under control which could have just been attributed to growing up but it seems like more than that. I think that was the worse run-on sentence ever.
This book is long and, at times, it lags for me, especially when the magical or scientific process is explained in excruciating detail. I’m good with “Abra Kadabra Boom” but others may need more.
My son says the second book was even better so I’m off to go read it.

The Gray Wolf Throne – Seven Realms #3 – Cinda Williams Chima

Raisa ana’Marianna, the princess heir of the Queendom of Fells, is headed home from her self-imposed exile. It’s a dangerous road due to the assassins after her and the civil war that has poured over from Arden into Tamron which neighbors Fells. Luckily the Captain of the Queen’s Guard along with 8 of his soldiers has found her to escort her home. Unfortunately, they are attacked and she is shot with a poisoned arrow and will die without help.
Han Alister finds her and puts her on his horse as he races towards the nearby clan camp. He tries to heal her with his magic while riding which almost kills him too.
When Raisa awakens, she learns that her mother, the queen has died by “falling” off her balcony. Before she died, she had changed the order of succession to make her Raisa’s thirteen-year-old sister the heir if the queen died and Raisa could not be located.
Raisa has to find a way to come out of hiding without being killed. Her sister is too easily manipulated to be queen.
Like the first two books of the series, I was enthralled all the way through this book. I did get a little annoyed with Raisa’s behavior at times though. In the first book and halfway through the second, she was in love with Amon Byrne, but then she falls in love with Han Alister while in hiding and pretending to be Rebecca Morley, a daughter of a nobleman and a student at Oden’s Ford. When Han finds out she lied to him, he stops their romance and Raisa is out kissing other people within days. She seems fickle. I don’t think she knows what love really is.
Even though I was annoyed at Raisa’s fickle behavior, I liked her and most of the other characters but Han is my favorite. Han is a former street thug, turned clan member turned wizard. I love his devotion to Raisa and how he always comes through for her.
This is an excellent series. I highly recommend it.

The Exiled Queen – Seven Realms #2 – Cinda Williams Chima

I can’t give this series enough praise! The characters and world that Cinda Williams Chima has created here is extraordinary. I can’t seem to put it down nor find enough hours in my day to read. Last night I read until my eyes went blurry but I couldn’t stop until I finished this book.

 

In the last book, Raisa’s mother tried to force her to marry Micah Bayar, the son of the High Wizard, which is totally against the law but the High Wizard seems to have some sort of magical influence over the queen. Luckily, Raisa escaped with the help of Amon Byrne, the son of the Captain of the Queen’s Guard.

Raisa traveled under an assumed name, Rebecca Morley, through horrible conditions with Amon and 8 of his cadets to Oden’s Ford to attend military school. Here’s where I became a little confused. Bear with me while I go on a side trip. Oden’s Ford contains many schools; one for wizards on the other side of the river from the military school, and another school for temple dedicates where students learn music, art and philosophy. What I didn’t quite understand was if Oden’s Ford is the name of the entire campus which includes all of the schools or if it was a town or if it was a small country of its own. I tried following the directions on how each of the characters traveled to Oden’s Ford but I got lost. I cheated and found a map from a spinoff series of the Seven Realms but I’m still confused.

Raisa is the princess heir of the country of Fells which is a mountainous region in the north of the continent. They traveled west through the mountains, past something called Westgate which seemed to guard the west border of the country of Fells yet they entered a swampland called The Fens where a people called Water Walkers live that the author described as part of the Queendom of Fells. They traveled southeast through the swamps to Tamron, the country connected to Fells. There was an abandoned guard house on the border. They then traveled south to Oden’s Ford. Even with the map, I couldn’t figure out if Oden’s Ford is part of Tamron or a country all on its own.

Raisa enrolled as a cadet in Wien House at Oden’s Ford. She may be out of Fells but danger is all around her. Students come from all over the Seven Realms to attend the schools at Oden’s Ford. She knows that Micah Bayar to whom she was almost forced to marry, his twin sister and his two cousins are enrolled in Mystwerk House just across the bridge so she will have to be careful not to run into them. Fortunately, most students who attend Wien House are from the war-torn country of Arden where wizards are viewed as demons so the wizards from Mystwerk rarely cross the bridge to the Wein House side of the river.

What Raisa doesn’t know is that two other unexpected people are at Oden’s Ford. Cat Tyborn and Han Alister aka Cuffs Alister, two street gang lords with whom she had dealings with in Fells. Cat is attending Temple School because Micahs father, Lord Bayar killed all her street gang while searching for Cuffs who took a powerful and illegal amulet from him. The Speaker (priest) from her neighborhood paid for her to attend Temple School because she is so talented at music and because he was helping her escape the same fate as her friends.

Hans was sent to Mystwerk after the clans revealed to him why he wore the silver cuffs on his wrists all his life. He is a powerful wizard descended from the Demon King, a line that no one but the clans knew existed. They had fitted him with magical cuffs when he was an infant to hide his abilities. After they revealed the truth and removed the cuffs, they sent him to Mystwerk to learn magic and help them fight the Wizard Council if it ever comes to a wat between the clans and wizards who hate each other.

Whew! That was a lot of explaining.

Han has to deal with Micah Bayar and dodge his attempts to get the amulet back which by rights belonged to the Demon King and has been outlawed in Fells.

There’s a lot at stake and a lot that can go wrong.

I’m off to read the next book.