“Mustard?” Chaz replied. “Who puts mustard on a burrito?”

Sanderson recently posted the first two chapters of Snapshot online (1 / 2). CLIFFHANGER! Bought the whole thing. (It’s $3…)


Prentice Alvin Tales of Alvin Maker #3

On one hand, Prentice Alvin feels quite a lot like the previous two Alvin Maker stories. We have a continuation of the alternate timeline, this time dealing with how apprenticeships and slavery work in this world. We learn more about the town where Alvin was born, which we haven’t seen in a while, including Peggy–the torch who has been keeping an eye on him this entire time.

On the other hand, it doesn’t feel like the story went anywhere. Alvin learns a bit more about his powers, but it’s mostly shades on what he’s known before. He’s still weirdly good at everything. On top of that, he spends seven years apprenticing as a blacksmith–even though he’s better than his master by the time he’s ~13 years old. Peggy runs off, comes back disguised as an old woman, and still doesn’t interact terribly much with Alvin. In end end, we come back to the town where Alvin grew up. Almost a decade has passed, but what really has changed?


Graceling Graceling Realm #1

I enjoyed Graceling more than I actually expected to. It starts out slowly and ends a bit abruptly, but there was something about it that kept me going right to the end.

Plotwise, the story starts with main character Katsa kicking ass as a sort of enforcer for the King. She’s not thrilled with the idea, but what choice does she have? Halfway through the story, she meets Po and ends up running off to what feels like a completely different plotline (although to be fair, they are tangentially related by way of Po’s grandfather. They end up on the run from Mad King Bad Guy, cross some mountains… and then the story sort of ends. It’s not a terrible story, but I felt like it was a bit light at times and tended to drop things without warning.


Witches Abroad Discworld #12 Discworld - Witches #3

The witches are a lot of fun to read about, especially in how they interact with one another. Granny is hilariously no-nonsense, but too stubborn to admin when she doesn’t know something. Nanny Ogg is much more worldly (for a witch) and a good counterpoint. Magrat is the young witch, still learning, and has the advantage of not knowing quite so well as the two older witches just when something is supposed to be impossible.

Plotwise, we get a story that is basically a pile of stereotypical fairy tales (mostly Cinderella) tossed into a blender with a heaping helping of Discworld for seasoning. It’s kind of bizarre, but in a greatly entertaining way. Even better, given that half the time the witches seem to realize they are living out storybook tales and half the time they are amusingly unaware.


Red Prophet Tales of Alvin Maker #2

Take a little Magical Native American, a little Noble Savage, and a little White Man’s Burden and you get a pretty good idea of what Red Prophet is like.

So far as I’m concerned, Red Prophet is pretty much a laundry list of don’ts when it comes to writing about Native Americans. They have a preternatural understanding of the natural, unique to them that fall away if they become too ‘white’ (using weapons/tools of European make / drinking alcohol). On top of that, they all seem drawn to extremes, either far better or far worse than the generally more nuanced ‘white’ characters of the book.


Seventh Son Tales of Alvin Maker #1

The world if Seventh Son is fairly fascinating. It’s set in early 1800s somewhere around what would have been Indiana or Ohio in our world, except in this world magic is real. It seems to be based on any number of folk magics turned real and powerful–but apparently only in the New World. Possibly because of that, American history hasn’t gone quite as we remember it. The Iroquois nation became a state. Washing was executed as a traitor. Things aren’t named quite as we know them, which at times gets annoying.

As the seventh son of a seventh son, Alvin Maker Jr is destined to be a Maker, a particularly powerful user of the story’s magic. As such, he’s apparently been hunted by a powerful evil being–the Unmaker–his entire life. He already has hints of that power, although he doesn’t seem to completely realize it at first. Towards the end, he manages to heal what should have been a deadly injury.


Equal Rites Discworld #3 Discworld - Witches #1

Equal Rites follows the story of what was assumed to be an automatic wizard– the eighth son of an eighth son–except… she’s a girl. And everyone knows that women can’t be witches… although no one can quite put a finger on why.

It’s quite an enjoyable book, both exploring some of the parts of Discworld that we haven’t seen as much yet (if you, like I, have only read the Rincewind books thus far) and gives a bit more heft to the ones we have seen. We see a lot more of the earlier wizards that we already saw in the first two Rincewind novels, but this time it’s from an outsider’s perspective, which is refreshing.


Unseen Academicals Discworld #37 Discworld - Rincewind #8

Officially, Unseen Academicals is the 8th and final novel in the Rincewind subseries of the Discworld novels. Unfortunately, Rincewind isn’t in particularly much of it. A few pages? He’s a professor now… and that’s about it.

Instead, the entire story is about football.


Bright Smoke, Cold Fire Bright Smoke, Cold Fire #1

Among the three Hodge books I’ve read thus far (Cruel Beauty and Crimson Bound), Bright Smoke, Cold Fire is by far my favorite, which is interesting, given that it has the lowest rating on Goodreads by almost half a point. It’s actually the lowest rated full I’ve finished.

In essence, Bright Smoke, Cold Fire takes place in the single remaining city after a zombie apocalypse. The city is protected by a giant protective bubble powered by human sacrifice. There are a few different kinds of magic systems floating about, one dealing with magic words left over from the language of the gods, the other (powering the bubble) based on blood magic. Overall, it’s the same fascinating world building that Hodge put into both Cruel Beauty and Crimson Bound, although in this case, it feels rather more fleshed out (pun intended).