"...And in this corner... in the brown trunks with a rip in the seat... weighing in at a deceptively tubby 186lbs... from San Diego, California... the two-time Biggest Literary Blaggard Heavyweight Champion... voted Most Enturdtaining Writer of the Year by the International Simpleton's Collective three years straight... the "Sultan of Squat"... the "Methanatrix" himself... Two-Ton David "Windy" Wagner!"
[OK... cue explosive applause... blast the theme music... confetti and streamers now... ready camera #2... and... take it.]
Thank you! Thank you all!
I trust your Monday came and went with nary a hitch... I know mine did. Pretty mellow day today - though that doesn't mean it was unproductive. I finished The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson, and I have some thoughts on it...
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson: A Review
For a thousand years, the world has been ruled by an evil Lord Ruler, who defeated a greater evil called The Deepness, and now rules with an iron fist, immortal and unassailable. The world is dark, under constant ashfall, with frightening mists that envelop the land nightly. The vast majority of the population are called the skaa, and are basically slaves, forced to work the ashy fields for little more than food to keep them going, all to support the noble houses that form the structure of the Final Empire under the Lord Ruler.
Some noblemen are born with special giftings, which are exercised by ingesting trace amounts of certain metals, and then "burning" them within themselves to activate the gifts, in a process referred to as Allomancy. These gifted ones are called Mistings, and specialize in one Allomantic facet only. They are useful in keeping order, and keeping the skaa subjugated. Occasionally, a Misting will appear that has all of the Allomantic gifts... these are called Mistborn, and they are supremely powerful.
The Allomantic gifts are hereditary; therefore no skaa can obtain the gifts, since physical interraction between the nobles and the skaa is prohibited, unless the nobleman has the skaa woman immediately put to death afterwards, to prevent any inadvertent pregnancies, with the resulting mixing of the classes. Thus, the Immortal Lord Ruler keeps things as he wants. As you may guess, eventually, some half-breed Mistings survive...
That should set things up well enough for you. I cannot say enough positive things about both the book and the author. There is something very special about this book; something that proved difficult to put my finger on at first. I believe I've distilled it down to this: the writing is so solid and effective, and the story so rich and compelling, I simply forgot I was reading a book. The writing is not self-aware or in love with itself (like Bakker), it isn't highly polished and tasty (like Rothfuss), it isn't constantly looking for ways to stick you in the ribs and/or shock you (like Abercrombie), and it isn't blatantly manipulative (like King)... it merely tells a terrific tale in a way so straightforward and effective that you simply fall in and go. I don't know how else to put it... the writing absolutely does nothing in any way to hinder the story... it steps aside and lets the reader fly...
There aren't any noteworthy monologues, or bits of dialog that are worth pulling out, as examples of great wordsmithing, as I've done with other writers. But that's ok. There are solid, extremely rich and well-crafted characters, a deliciously fascinating magic system, rich lore, and a lightness in the midst of the ashy darkness and curling mists... and wonderfully satisfying David-vs.-Goliath moments throughout. There is no profanity or adult scenes - they are not needed. Sanderson establishes a trust almost from the get-go that is intangible and likely impossible to force... as a reader, it was without question that he would spin a solid, terrific tale... I just felt it as I read, like a warm undercurrent. Clean, simple, extremely effective... that style is likely why Sanderson is able to spit books out so quickly. No agonizing over the drafts, searching for the perfect flowery synonym or subtle adverb.
Man, listen to me gush. Have you vomited yet? Yeah, this isn't a traditional review, I'm merely rolling with it here. I simply thoroughly enjoyed the book, and I look forward not only to starting Book 2 tonight, but also to adding all of his titles to my library. What a wonderful author.
Summary: Highly recommended. 5/5
I decided to go ahead and number the Israelites (so to speak) today, and assemble a list of the books I've read this year so far. I've noticed many others do that on their blogs, and I am a complete lemming, so here it is...
Books I've Read So Far in 2009 (In order of enjoyment)
- The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss
- The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson
- Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
- The Blade Itself, by Joe Abercrombie
- Before They Are Hanged, by Joe Abercrombie
- Last Argument of Kings, by Joe Abercrombie
- The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield
- The Black Company, by Glen Cook
- Shadows Linger, by Glen Cook
- Point of Impact, by Stephen Hunter
- Across the Face of the World, by Russell Kirkpatrick
- The White Rose, by Glen Cook
- Best Served Cold, by Joe Abercrombie
- The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch
- Speaker of the Dead, by Orson Scott Card
- Runaway Jury, by John Grisham
- Red Seas Under Red Skies, by Scott Lynch
- The Assassin's Apprentice, by Robin Hobb
- The Darkness That Comes Before, by R. Scott Bakker
- The Talisman, by Stephen King/Peter Straub
I started a few others, but didn't make it very far in them. It's uncertain whether I will return to them or not. The Briar King by Greg Keyes; Hawkwood's Voyage by Paul Kearney; The Sword of Shanarra by Terry Brooks; and A Cavern of Black Ice by JV Jones.
Next up for me will obviously be the next 2 Mistborn books, The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages. Beyond that, who knows? I'm literally saturated with options... my shelves runneth over.
Vye posted this wallpaper on his blog the other day. I love it. Click it to see it big - it's worth it. I have this as my current WP, bumping the skateboard wallpapers I slaved over recently.
Speaking of those skateboard wallpapers, I recently created a new Deviant Art account and uploaded them, just to get them out there to share. I also googled "skateboard wallpapers" and found a cool site to submit them to. I emailed the webmaster, he gave me the link to upload them, promising to take a look and see if they were acceptable... he wrote back saying they were perhaps the best skateboard-related wallpapers he'd ever seen, and thanked me profusely, saying he knew tons of people that were going to love them. Ahh, feels good to be appreciated! Even if it's just by a sliver of a micro-niche....
"And in the red corner, Dave's opponent for the evening... weighing in at a trim 150 lbs... rookie sensation The Coolest Guy in the World!"
Ding ding ding! We have a winner!
Ding ding ding! We have a winner!
Winner by TKO in the first round, The Coolest Guy in the World!
[Spotlight on CGW... theme music. Quick cut to Dave, sprawled out, with the doctors checking his vitals... add canned laughter... and... fade to black!]