“The world is full enough of hurts and mischances without wars to multiply them.”
I read this months and months ago, yet somehow I forgot to write a review on it. Not that this book needs another review. So here is a very short one.
The Return of the King is personally my least favorite one of the trilogy. It's not a weak book per say, but the pacing is all over the place, and it really dampened the mood of the story for me. I wanted more depth to the things that were glossed over, and some things that were overly explained I wanted way less of.
“And then her heart changed, or at least she understood it; and the winter passed, and the sun shone upon her.”
I was very grateful for book's version of the love story between Eowyn and Faramir. They both are my absolute favorite side characters, and obviously my absolute favorite couple to ever walk the Middle Earth. Faramir is the purest soul ever created, and Eowyn is the embodiment of female grace and strength.
I absolutely love how their love story wasn't instant. How it took Eowyn a long time to realize that what she wanted wasn't at all what she needed. That she was able to admit her first love for another person and then grow as a character and turn around to find her true love. I don't know any other character in any other book who does that. On the battle field and in her heart, Eowun is a true warrior, and I adore her. And Faramir is a precious dandelion and I love him.
On the other hand I wish Aragorn and Arwen's love story wasn't fitted into two sentences. Literally. The movie expanded it beautifully though (at the price of cutting back on Faramir and Eowyn, so I guess you can't have both, ever?).
I found the ending chapter tedious and unnecessary. It felt like the story was over about two chapters ago and yet it kept going. I understood the resigning behind it, but I just wanted to be done at that point. In all honesty I skimmed on the chapter where the hobbits take back the Shire. I know they had to prove themselves, without the company and magic, and all the help, but did it have to be so tedious?
“But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.”
On the whole, Lord of the Rings trilogy holds a special place in my heart. It is the standing stone of classic fantasy, and it's also the epitome of it. The writing, the setting, the ultimate battle between good and evil - it has it all. And despite there only being a very few female characters, they are all very important to the story. I am still surprised that in the midst of all this male dominance here, Eowyn managed to get such a good story arc. You go, Tolkien!
Also, Sam is the true hero of the whole story. I mean, how could he not be?
“Your time may come. Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot be always torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do.”
5/5 OR more accurately all the stars in the world!
“To live is to have worries and uncertainties. Keep them inside, and they will destroy you for certain--leaving behind a person so callused that emotion can find no root in his heart.”
I will be honest. I expected to like this. I knew I would. I just didn't expect to love it so, so much. Elantris might just have jumped to be my #1 favorite Sanderson book. Sure, I adore the first Mistborn trilogy (I'm not comparing them, but I think Mistborn is the first thing people think of when they hear Sanderson's name). It's breathtaking. I love Kell, and Vin, and Sazed and all of the gang with all of my heart. They are my favorite, they are irreplaceable. But I spent three books with them. Three very hefty books at that. Raoden and Sarene stole my heart completely and unabashedly in just one book.
“Is human nature to believe that other places and other times are better than the here and now.”
Elantris is a story of a city, yes, but first it's a story of three amazingly different characters. Raoden, who is the most pure and beautiful soul in probably all of the universe. And not just Cosmere. Sarene who is so headstrong and stubborn, she would probably move a wall with just her will if she had to. And Hrathen, who seems intimidating and scary, but in reality is lost and scared. Their stories are so different, but they intertwine in the best of ways.
Elantris also has a very cool magic system, but it isn't explored much until about the last third of the book - which plot wise makes the perfect sense, but also leaves the reader hungry to know more. Which now we can, because Elantris 2 is a thing that will happen. One day. I loved that it was inspired by Chinese lettering, something that has always fascinated me.
Did I mention that a lot of dialog is positively hilarious?
“So, using his pride like a shield against despair, dejection, and-most important—self-pity, Raoden raised his head to stare damnation in the eyes.”
I can see how Elantris can be a bit hard to get into in the beginning, because of the extensive terminology that is thrown at the reader. All of it is of either religious or political nature - two forces that drive the book. But it isn't confusing, it's just a lot to take in, but once you do - you will feel as if you are yourself are a part of all of the schemes.
Elantris made me cry, and it made me laugh. A lot. It's a story about how our parentage doesn't define us. It's a story about being lost without a purpose, and finding it in the most unexpected places. It's abut coming together and building a better community. It's about embracing who you are and believing that people who truly love you, will love you no matter what. And as weird as it feels for me to say - the romance in here will make your heart turn to goo, because it's so beautiful.
“One cannot seperate truth from actions...Physically inevitable or not, truth stands above all things. It is independant of who has the best army, who can deliver the longest sermons, or even who has the most priests. It can be pushed down, but it will always surface. Truth is the one thing you can never intimidate.”
It's January already, but better late than never. I just realized that picking the best book of 2018 is so hard for me, because there weren't that many. Almost half of the 5 star books were re-reads for me! Which his very sad. I really did not have a good reading year.
I'm going to very quickly mention the re-reads:
I read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte for the very first time in 2018 and fell in love with it.
The writing is exquisite.
The story is fascinating.
And I'd love to read more books by her.
Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson is a prime example of how to write a second generation series that doesn't suck, but quite the opposite - shines almost as bright as the original. Did I miss the original cast: Elend, Vin, Breeze and the rest of them? Of course I did! I love them all to pieces. Did I wish for them to be in this book instead of the new characters? Heck NO! I loved the new ones right off the bat, and now I have more characters to add to my ever-growing bucket of ...well favorites.
Ohh, look another Brandon Sanderson book. This time it's a Warbreaker.
The problem with reading Brandon Sanderson is that after you want to read more Brandon Sanderson. I've tried reading two books after, but nothing just holds up.
If there ever was a book that played me for a fool - this is it. I spent 60 percent of the book rooting for the wrong guy and hating a very decent character. I still don't know how I let myself to be so blinded.
I mean I'm already on Brandon Sanderson roll, so here's one more. This is technically 3 novellas in 1. And each one is my favorite.
The writing is as always - amazing. And the ending of the third book broke me completely.
I still prefer his fantasy books from him, but this sci-fi was done so well.
Sci-fi with a lot of heart if you will.
“We always think there's enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like 'if'.”
Some books make me tear up, some books made me cry, and some books make me wail like a baby. The man called Ove by Fredrik Backman is definitely in that last category. I had trouble seeing the last couple of pages of this book I was crying so hard. Did this book break my heart? Absolutely! But in the best possible way.
Since we are talking about grumpy old men, here's another prime example.
I don't know what's it with me and books about old depressed people. But I love it! I really identify with them. I know I'm internally actually a 70 year old grumpy woman myself, so.
Hendrik Groen is as funny as he is insightful. I loved this book from start to finish.
Lying in Wait was so much fun. Sick and twisted, but fun nonetheless!
Is there anything worse than smother-mother? No. And apparently there is also nothing more terrifying than a smother-mother either. The format is quite different, as the main murder and its murderers is given away right in the beginning, so in the sense the mystery is already known to the reader.
With that said, I devoured this book in 24 hours.
You do the math!
This was my last book of 2018 and what a great way to end the year! The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was just the sci-fi mind bend that I was so craving!
In the acknowledgments of this book it says that the author wished to write a novel worthy of Agatha Christie. When I was reading this I literally described it as "Agatha Christie on steroids with a sci-fi twist". So, Mister Turton, mission accomplished.
There is hope for YA dystopian books! And that hope is Scythe.
Never have I read 400+ pages book so fast. I just couldn't stop - it was readable, entertaining, unpredictable and just plain awesome.
“Everyone is guilty of something, and everyone still harbors a memory of childhood innocence, no matter how many layers of life wrap around it. Humanity is innocent; humanity is guilty, and both states are undeniably true.”
I am a middle book person. They tend to be slower, they tend to have more background and usually by the end they escalate so fast, having left you hungry for more. In Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson book 2 was my absolute favorite, in Hunger Games book 2 was the best one in my opinion. And now The gods of Vice - I just couldn't get enough of this book, and when it was over I jumped into the 3rd one right away.
The best secret was kept till the very end, but it was well worth it, because it blew my mind. Literally. Brain explosion! Kaboom! Just when I thought I knew characters and was beginning to trust them - things got turned around 360 degrees and I didn't know what to think anymore!
I do not like young adult books much anymore, especially contemporary young adult, and especially young adult contemporary coming of age stories with romance (whew, that was a mouthful). And The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants series is all of those things. And somehow I really enjoy it. Girls in Pants is the 3rd book in the series, and so far my favorite one. I lost some faith in the book 2 (I didn't like it much), but book 3 came back and definitely brought it home for me.
I'm not saying that this trumps Jane Eyre for me, but it's on the same level! Wow! Why did I wait so long to read this book I have no idea. I might have read something by Wilde in high school, but that was so long time ago and in another language that I just can't remember. But no matter because I will definitely read more by him from now on.
The Picture of Dorian Gray is simply a masterpiece. The writing, ohhh the writing! Think of gooey, dark and smooth chocolate being poured gently and delicately over some fresh strawberries - that's what his writing feels like!