A Darkling Plain

And so it ends. I’ve had some issues with this series (mostly with some of the relationship drama present throughout), but I’m glad I finished it.

Characterwise, I’m not sure I liked what happened to either Tom or Hester. Tom is entirely too naive. Pennyroyal literally shot him–and this is likely to kill him one day. He enslaved Tom’s daughter. And he doesn’t seem to care. He’s good to a fault and it just doesn’t seem real. Hester… is crazy and violent and full of a desire for vengeance and it’s only worse this time around. This time it doesn’t feel unreal–what does that say about me?–but it’s still sad that she ended up this way. Wren and Theo I liked a lot more. I wish they would have spent less time separated nearly missing one another again and again, but it works out.


Furies of Calderon

Apparently I last read Furies of Calderon before I started writing reviews. That was actually the second time I read it–the first time I didn’t even finish the book, putting it down. It’s something of a slow book and a bit strange. But the second time and especially once I got into the sequels, I loved it, it’s among my favorite series. This time around, I listened to it and it’s even better as an audiobook (since it just keeps right on going through the boring parts).

If you haven’t heard, the story is that Codex Alera arose out of a bar bet. Take some random topic and write a story about it. In this case, the Lost Roman Legion and Pokemon. Sounds crazy, but it kind of works. From the Roman half, you end up with essentially a Roman empire with holds and legions that have fought to tear out a land for themselves from a variety of enemies all around. From the Pokemon, you have Furies, elemental spirits of the land, sea, and air which all of the Alerans[^Tavi] have some ability to control for various tasks: the strength of an earth fury, healing with water furies, flying with air. Pretty cool.


AoC 2018 Day 14: Functionally Circular Elfs

Source: Chocolate Charts

Part 1: Create an infinite stream of numbers, by starting with [3, 7] with two pointers: 0 and 1. To add values to the list:

  • Add the current values of the two pointers
    • If the value is less than ten, add that value to the end of the list
    • If the value is greater or equal to ten, add 1 and then the ones digits to the end of the list
  • Update each pointer by adding the value it is pointing at to its current index plus one

With that algorithm, find the ten digits after a given index.


AoC 2018 Day 13: Mine Cart Madness

Source: Mine Cart Madness

Part 1: Load a minecart track that looks like this:

/->-\        
|   |  /----\
| /-+--+-\  |
| | |  | v  |
\-+-/  \-+--/
  \------/

Assuming minecarts follow the tracks and alternate turning left, going straight, and turning right on each intersection (+), where does the first collision occur?

NOTE: Update carts top to bottom, left to right. Carts can collide mid update.


AoC 2018 Day 11: Gridlocked Fuel

Source: Chronal Charge

Part 1: Define a grid as follows (x,y coordinates + a constant C):

  • r(x) = x + 10
  • G(x, y) = hundreds(r(x) * (r(x) * y + C)) - 5

Find the 3x3 area in a 300x300 grid with the highest total G(x, y) .


AoC 2018 Day 9: Marble Madness

Source: Marble Mania

Part 1: Place marbles in a circle such that each marble is placed by skipping one place except for marbles divisible by 23. For those, don’t place them, skip back 7 places, and remove that marble as well. Add these two marbles to your current score.

Given a specific player count and last marble, what’s the highest score?


Predator's Gold

On one hand, Predator’s Gold does a solid job of expanding on what was the best part of Mortal Engines: the world building all around mobile cities that eat one another. We get to see a few more cities–both predators and trading cities–along with more details on airships in this world. But the real worldbuilding gold1 is in the parasites that can attach themselves to cities and steal from them. It really makes the cities feel like gigantic living organisms as much as anything, which I’m sure is Reeve’s intention.

On the other hand, I very nearly put Predator’s Gold down several times during the first half of the book. There’s a rather blatant love triangle between Tom, Hester, and Freya (princess of Anchorage–roving city of the north nearly destroyed by a plague in the recent past). It really doesn’t make much sense given Tom and Hester’s relationship at the end of the first book and drags on way too long. Perhaps that’s what some people read the book for… but it’s really not for me.