The Big Bang Theory Tag

tbbt

My friend Jessie, from Jessie Reads Everything, tagged me to do The Big Bang Theory Book Tag, which was created by Terri from Reading by Starlight. It looks like a lot of fun, and I’ve never done one of these before, so I decided to try this one and see how it turned out. It was a lot of fun, and I had to think about some of my choices for quite some time, but in the end, I think I’m happy with all of them.

I’ve only seen the first season of TBBT, and while I found it quite amusing, I didn’t feel the need to watch any more (I’m not much of a TV person. The only other show I’ve seen in the last decade is Game of Thrones.). Regardless, I’m familiar with most of the ideas, either from the first season or seeing the inevitable memes online. Without further ado, here goes!

1. The Fish Night Light

A book that may have been rocking its crazy but was still kind of brilliant.

The-Mirror-Empire-cover

The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley is one of those books that has everything and the kitchen sink. Carnivorous trees, brutal blood magic, parallel worlds, satellite magic, societies with 5+ genders, utterly crazy religions, and so on. The book is just overflowing with the crazy ideas, and Kameron mostly manages to pull it off, though it does occasionally have the feeling of a train crashing downhill while you pray that the driver will be able to regain control before you hit the bottom.

2. The Hawking

The author that would be like your equivalent of Physics Genius meets Stephen Hawking.

BrianMcClellan

Brian McClellan. Like Jessie, I was originally going with Sanderson, but I decided that since I’ve already met him, I should use this one for another author. Brian writes some great books, and is a student of the Sanderson. He’s a beekeeper and overall awesome person. I’ve actually gotten to beta read some of his short stories and novellas, and I’m in the acknowledgements of one or two of them, and I’m really, really looking forward to meeting the person behind the books at WorldCon this year.

3. The Euclid Avenue

The book so full of bumps and (plot) holes that it proved annoying to read.

sorcerer

Before you crucify me, hear me out! I had a really hard time coming up with this one. By the time they get through editing and everything else, most books have pretty solid plots, and very few plot holes. I’ve recently been relistening to the Harry Potter series, and they have some plot holes you could fly a broomstick through… How did the Dursleys ever get off that rock? Why would you send students to their dormitories after a troll gets in, when they’re already safe in the great hall, and one of the dormitories is in the dungeon? Perhaps most importantly, did Dumbledore really believe that any of the enchantments on the Stone, except possibly his own, would prevent Voldemort from getting it? They were weak enough for 3 first years to get past, and that’s without any summoning charms or blasting spells or anything that would have made some parts of it much easier.

That’s not to say that I don’t love the books, though. They, and their characters, are utterly amazing. The plot holes just bothered me a little more this time around.

4. The Spock Napkin

The book for which you had low or moderate expectations, and then it was so beyond awesome that you wanted to hug it and love it and shout about it forever.

emperorsbladespsd

The Emperor’s Blades. This was the second ARC I ever received, and I won it in a sweepstakes competition. It was a debut, and I really hadn’t heard anything about the author or the book beforehand, and I’ve had rather iffy results with books I randomly select in the past. But it blew me away, and I am so much in love with this one now that I am pushing it on everyone I know while eagerly anticipating the third volume in the trilogy, THE LAST MORTAL BOND, which I need more than water. (Cover art below because it’s just so frigging amazing.)

LastMortal

5. The Awkward Fanboy

The book that seems to follow you around the blogosphere, and you know you don’t want to read it but it won’t leave you alone.

Heir of Fire

I read the prequel novellas and the first two books in this series, and I’m the black sheep on these. I didn’t enjoy them very much, but everyone says they get better and they’re always pushing me to read the next one. I will get around to it eventually, as I have a copy, but I’m not expecting it to be a book that I love.

6. The Classified Materials

The book with a spoiler so huge, when anyone asks, you just can’t even say because the spoiler is such a big part of it.

A-Storm-of-Swords

Some weddings and stuff happen in this book. People die, occasionally. So many twists and turns in the second half of this novel, and they’re what make it so interesting, so discussing it without these twists is practically impossible. (And yes, I dismissed several Sanderson novels, especially Hero of Ages and Way of Kings, for this spot because I wanted to keep it at just one book per author on this list.)

7. The Jiminy

The book that gets mistaken most often for the wrong genre, and you’re constantly arguing for why it’s this other genre/subgenre.

Sword_of_shannara_hardcover

This one is always classified as straight up fantasy, but, as we find out in the history lessons in the opening chapters, it’s really a far-future earth, in what is really a recovering post-apocalyptic setting. Brooks has gone back and explored this in deep detail in some of his other series, showing us the transition from the earth we know to the world of Shannara, and it’s fascinating. People still insist on calling it straight up fantasy, however.

8. The Adhesive Duck

The book that was all cute and cuddly and then WHAM YOUR FEELS AND OW AND YOUR HEART AND WHAT JUST HAPPENED.

Firefight

Of course there’s Sanderson on this list somewhere… I don’t ship hardly anyone, but I do ship Megan and David, and they are just so cute. Also, I love Mizzy and the new team we’re introduced to, and the setting is just so dang cool… And then there’s the Sanderson avalanche at the end of this that makes me want to cry. So many feels for so many characters. It would be spoilers to say who, but, well, if you’ve read it you know what I mean.

9. The Zazzy

The book that’s got so much personality that it’s just ZAZZY and there’s no other word for it.

This one is just awesome all the way through, and all of the characters are so vibrant. Kell, Lila, Rhy, the Danes… They all have such unique attitudes and they’re so well written, they really imbue the book with their personalities. And that’s not to mention the various Londons, all of which have their own personalities too…

10. The Hot Troll

The book you thought would be beautiful and fabulous and then it turned out to be horrible and gross.

The Warded Man

I’ve not been repulsed by this book in quite a while. I finished reading it this afternoon, and there were several points I wanted to throw it across the room, not because of the agony it caused me through its characters (A la Red Wedding. Everyone chunks their book across the room at that point.), but because it was just so… Yuck. Rape all over the place, combined with a distinct lack of agency by any of the female characters (except maybe the one who is hardly onscreen and then dies), and a series of cultures, each of which disrespect their women more than the last, just really set my teeth on edge. The book itself, without this, probably would have been moderately entertaining, and I’ve heard lots of people who love this series, but the way sex, rape, and female characters in this book were treated really ruined any enjoyment I had. I’ll be reviewing it soon.

11. The Zarnecki

The book with an antagonist so evil/mean/disgusting that you’d drive many hours just to knee him/her in the … well you get it.

the-hunger-games-trilogy

President Snow. I didn’t go for any of the obvious, out-and-out “you kill me or die” villains. They don’t strike the same loathing into me as the quiet, manipulative, political villains, the ones who know exactly what they’re doing, exactly how many people they’re messing up, and have such complete control over the main character’s lives that I just have to shudder to think of them. And President Snow is one of the best examples of this kind of character I’ve ever read. He forces Katniss and Peeta to play along with his games, forces them to smile and pretend there’s nothing wrong, while he destroys their lives and ruins their futures. *shudder*

12. The Train Tour

The book with the development/ending/sunken ship/whatever that proved so upsetting, you contemplated running away forever so you didn’t have to deal with your feels.

Hero of Ages

Okay, so I lied. I did include 2 Sanderson books on this list. Anyone who has reached the end of The Hero of Ages knows what I mean. “I am, unfortunately, the Hero of Ages.”… And if you’re feeling particularly brave, let me know, and I’ll send you some fan-art that’ll leave you sobbing, whether you’ve read the book once or a dozen times.

Book Review: The Hero of Ages

WARNING: THIS IS THE THIRD BOOK IN THE MISTBORN TRILOGY. IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FIRST ONE, GO CHECK OUT MY REVIEW AND READ IT. THIS REVIEW–AND THE SUMMARY–CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Hero of Ages

From Goodreads:

Tricked into releasing the evil spirit Ruin while attempting to close the Well of Ascension, new emperor Elend Venture and his wife, the assassin Vin, are now hard-pressed to save the world.This adventure brings the Mistborn epic fantasy trilogy to a dramatic and surprising climax as Sanderson’s saga offers complex characters and a compelling plot, asking hard questions about loyalty, faith and responsibility.

I usually think of Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, concluded in The Hero of Ages (HoA), as a single unit, split into three parts, much like Lord of the Rings. This is, I think, partly because of how Sanderson wrote the books, all back-to-back, and had therefore finished the first draft of HoA before The Final Empire went off for copyedits, and so he was able to tweak thematic things to make them fit and flow through all three books. And they flow quite well. The overarching story is nicely continuous, and built up magnificently.

That’s not to say that HoA picks up exactly where Well of Ascension left off. Rather, it starts with a bang, throwing the reader into new and exciting mysteries, and answering questions much more quickly than you would have thought. Sanderson does not save all of his secrets for the big finish, and HoA is an exciting book throughout. If you found Well of Ascension a little boring, do not fear, HoA remedies that and more. The set-up in the first two books begins to pay off in droves, and it is glorious.

It also starts off with the excellent epigraph, “I am, unfortunately, the Hero of Ages.” Remember that as you read it. (If you’ve already read it, I’m sorry—kinda—for doing that to you.)

Sanderson does not give everything away just to keep the book going, though. He saves his best tricks for the end. And what an end it is. The first two books really were just warm-up exercises, all set-up for the climax of HoA. The battles are epic on a scale rarely seen, the stakes are incredible, and the twists are marvelous. And then, just when you think it’s over, Sanderson gives you an epilogue that will make you tear up. Guaranteed, no matter how little you usually tear up at books. If you get even slightly emotional at the end of books, have chocolate and/or ice cream ready. Probably best to have a box of tissues and a friend as well. (If none are available in person, poke me or Nikki on Twitter, and we’ll assemble a support group for you. It may be wise to do this even before you reach the ending.)

I think he can manage this, in large part, because of the characters to whom we have become so deeply connected over the series. Elend and Vin, now married and fully-powered Mistborn, make an excellent kick-butt couple. Vin, in particular, has come so far from the little street urchin who doesn’t trust anyone, and I love how her journey continues here.

Sazed’s quest continues, and it is, in my opinion, the best character arc in the series. Sanderson is a deeply religious man, but that does not show in the slightest in his writing. Sazed’s belief, or lack thereof, is pulled off so convincingly, that it makes me question what it really means to believe, every time I read through the trilogy.

Spook’s arc also has a fitting conclusion, one I feel is fully justified and deserved, given how the other characters have treated him throughout the series. I feel perhaps most like him—shunted to the side, used as an errand boy, and always, always, wanting to do more to help. I do not, in any way, blame him for anything that happens.

Ruin. Ruin is the perfect villain. Simultaneously nebulous and concrete, yet utterly nefarious and evil, Ruin plays his cards so brilliantly that I’m not even disappointed that, at the end of Well of Ascension, we learn that our characters have been doing what he wanted/expected all along. Plots like this usually annoy me, but Ruin is just so… Disgusting and excellent that I have no problems with it here.

In summary, the capstone to Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy is a brilliant, feels-inducing, climax that ties up all the right threads and gives us satisfying—if unexpected—conclusions for all of our beloved characters, complete with an epic Sanderson Avalanche. Thought of as a single unit, the Mistborn Trilogy is one of my favorites of all time, and as Hero of Ages is, I feel, the best in the trilogy, I give it Five of Five stars without blinking. Go. Get it. Read it. You’ll thank me when you’re done crying.

Brandon Sanderson.

Goodreads.

Amazon.

Favorite Quotes

I posted a while back about first lines. This time, I’m just going to talk about favorite lines/quotes from books. They’re all my favorites for various reasons. Some encompass the entire series quite well, others just ring so pure and true I can’t deny them, regardless of context. Some of them are just so popular that they can’t be ignored. I hope you enjoy, and leave your favorites in the comments. Be warned of mild spoilers for everything. I’ve included the covers for each book before the quote, so you may want to skim past one if you haven’t read the book/series yet.

the-hunger-games-trilogy

There’s two lines from The Hunger Games trilogy that I want to highlight and talk about, though I tried to keep it down to 1 per book/series.

“I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!”

This is the line where all of us were hooked, I think. There is little as moving or as heroic as sacrificing yourself for someone else, and when Katniss volunteers… Well, Leevy (Effie in the movie, I think) had it right when she spoke up, saying it was the moment when Katniss truly moved her. It’s a powerful moment, and one that kicks off the entire trilogy, in its own way.

It’s also become, well, synonymous for volunteering for things. Last year, in one of my classes, a student asked for volunteers for his presentation, and another student and I, in perfect sync, without any planning (we didn’t even know each-other), said “I volunteer as tribute.” It was awesome. I’ve also heard stories of people putting Prim’s name of cups of coffee, and when her name is called, volunteering instead when they go to get their coffee. It’s become a very widespread quote that most anyone recognizes.

“May the odds be ever in your favor.”

This one is the epitome of what’s wrong with the capitol, why all of the districts hate it, and why they really want to rebel. The citizens of the capitol are so pampered, so removed from the actual games and the horror of it all, so unaware of what really is going on in the districts. It’s also, rightly so, one of the phrases that the citizens of the districts use to mock the capitol citizens and their accents. I think its repeated use throughout the series really drives home the distinctions, the reasons for the rebellion.

d4fc18d1ceab91b4329211be7d0f8b08

This one is one of two first lines in the post.

I hope you’re reading this, Mark.

This is literally the only time I’ve bought a book based on the first line. It’s just too perfect. (The books themselves were pretty good, though the last one was… Bleh.)

sorcerer

While I have most of the first book memorized, and there are plenty of amazing quotes about friendship and family and the things that truly matter in life, the one that always stuck with me is…

“You could have gotten us killed, or worse, expelled!”

This quote is just so great. It encompasses Hermione’s character so fully and perfectly, her love of school, her rigidity with the rules… It’s just too funny, and yet so true, that I had to include it. And it gives her a great place to grow from, as she realizes through the series that some rules are meant to be broken, and what friends and school are really worth.

9780756405892_custom-e1f427948003747f821e763ab0bc26291c32bbb4-s6-c30

This one… I don’t know. It’s not an incredibly powerful quote, either in or out of context, with relation to Kvothe’s tale, but it struck me the first time I read it.

“In some ways, this is where the story begins.”

In my book, US paperback, this quote appears on page 125. No, not page 12, or even 25, but page 125. This was the moment when I realized that I had been reading the book for 125 pages straight, and heck, maybe the story really hadn’t begun yet, but I didn’t care. It’s daring of an author to put something like this that far into their book. Some books are half over by this point. But Rothfuss is letting you know he’s just getting started, and that you’re really, truly, in for an epic undertaking, and it will be amazing.

a067fc9bc04262775c105026e2306cef

And speaking of epic, it doesn’t get much more epic than the Wheel of Time. (Though I really do need to read the Malazan series…)

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.

This quote (with variations on the location of the wind) open every book in the series. It’s a thread that runs throughout, the idea of an ever turning wheel, of things forever repeating themselves, and it is epic. It also fits perfectly with the final lines of the final book, giving a rare and beautiful symmetry to the series that I don’t see very often.

The Princess Bride, William Goldman

I could quote the whole book–or movie–and it wouldn’t be enough. It’s the most quotable thing I’ve ever seen, and I had a hard time just picking one quote. But, well, here we go.

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Yeah, that line. It’s what drives Inigo through the entire movie, offsetting the love story with one of revenge. I’ve always found his story perhaps even more moving, though I’m not sure why. But I love that final duel, the way he doesn’t give up, the way he keeps repeating this one line until he is triumphant. I could go on, but then I would end up quoting (and rewatching) the entire movie, then reading the book, and I have schoolwork to get done…

Lord-of-The-Rings1

This book is the definition and, according to some, the foundation of epic fantasy. I had to include it, and since I couldn’t narrow it down to just one, here’s my two favorite quotes from the book:

“Come, Mr. Frodo! I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well.”

Anyone who tries to deny that Samwise Gamgee is the true hero of The Lord of the Rings is lying to themselves, and no line shows it better than this one. He’s followed his master to the ends of middle earth, and he knows his master is being consumed by the ring. He knows he’s not coming home. He knows he can’t take the ring for himself. So what does he do? He finds a way to help anyway, to make sure the ring truly is destroyed.

“I am glad that you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.”

This one falls firmly into the “This. Is. Epic.” category. And after some 900+ pages of epicness, it’s a well earned line. I feel like those who quote it often diminish it–they use it for their own small endeavors, which they’re glad to have finished, but nothing can compare to the epicness of the original journey across middle earth, undertaken by two small, brave hobbits.

9781596066908

Let’s take a moment for one last funny line before we get into the ones that will kill you.

“Well, when the fear of death seizes you–when the dark thoughts come–you stare the darkness right back, and you tell it, ‘I will not listen to you, for I am infinite Batmans.'”

My first time through this novella, I was listening to the audiobook. This line, and the build-up, where one man is trying to help another confront his mortality and possible impending death, got me perfectly. I literally fell over, laughing, and couldn’t get up for about five minutes. (I’m not joking. I was walking around, listening, while my dinner was cooking, and then this. I fell over and didn’t get up until the food was done. It was just too perfect.)

Mistborn-Trilogy

Warning: This one and the last, especially the explanations, have HUGE spoilers. Read at your own risk. You’re fine for this one if you’ve read through The Hero of Ages, and the last one if you’ve read through A Storm of Swords in Game of Thrones (Or seen the 3rd season of the show.)

I am, unfortunately, the Hero of Ages.

Best use of “unfortunately” ever. This line, which comes from the first epigraph of the third book in the trilogy, but doesn’t make sense until it’s repeat at the end, well… It’s just such a perfect summation of everything, Sazed especially. It’s so perfectly him, and so emotionally powerful… I still can’t read it without tearing up a little bit.

A-Storm-of-Swords

A Storm of Swords is one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read, and the second half of the book packs more gutpunches than any other I’ve ever read, except maybe Mistborn. And it’s a close competition. There’s too many incredibly powerful moments to list, but I’ll go with…

“Jaime Lannister sends his regards.”

Yeah, I went there. The Red Wedding. The point where probably 80% of the people reading threw their books across the room, and maybe half of them didn’t pick them up again. The point where you really, truly, realize that nobody is safe. Ever. It’s so perfectly executed, and so… Amazingly horrible. I love it.

So, what are your favorites?