Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn 6) by Brandon Sanderson

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn, #6)The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once again I am amazed at the economy of Brandon Sanderson's writing.  He packs so much story into one book. In this book he could have drawn out endless descriptions of the setting, or spent unneeded pages inside the heads of his characters, and then ended it after the first initial conflict was overcome.  But he kept his writing focused and moved the story along constantly as he grew his setting and his characters in our minds.  So when the initial conflict was overcome, his sister was rescued, and more light was shed on the Set's plans, we were ready to keep going and get to an even bigger conflict, and an even bigger revelation.  It was very well done.

In my first reading of this, I really enjoyed the character of Wayne, and whats not to like?  Comic relief mixed with tragic back story all piled on top of a healthy serving of an unfailingly effective sidekick.  Yet, on this second time through, I found Marasi to be worthy of attention as well.  She could have been a weak, bitter, spurned love interest.  Instead she is taking action in her life from page one, proving herself professionally, and then challenging tough questions internally of who she is, and who she wants to be.  In terms of character development she is right there with Wax himself, which is interesting given that one of her issues is how she is always in his shadow.  It makes a much better story to have multiple protagonists and antagonists to deal with.

Excellent book.  I'm just frustrated that so many of Sanderson's other projects have stepped in front of the wrap up of this story line.  Grr.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Shadows of Self (Mistborn 5) by Brandon Sanderson

Shadows of Self (Mistborn, #5)Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Previous comments here.

This book is different than other Sanderson books for some reason. He stays true to the magic system and world he built, and I still love the references back to the first Mistborn trilogy, but it feels like this is where it gets a little far afield. I think I recognize the problem: he has to create an antagonist for the overarching protagonist (Sazed). Wax and Wayne do their thing, and their story line is fine, but to make this series' story arc work, the conflict can't be just about them. So in this book we learn about Trell. I think the issue might be that Trell was not really a legitimate character/force in the first trilogy, but rather just mentioned in passing. So this feels very "bolted-on." Where Sanderson's stories usually give you these huge "ah-ha!" moments when you look at the story through the rear view mirror (the Lessie revelation for example), for me the Trell thing is more of an "uh-huh?" moment.

That aside, I once again loved the book and can't wait to pick up the next one. Of course I have 3 other books in the works I need to finish as well, but I'm pushing on all fronts since we are staring down that last quarter of the year and I'm behind on my goal again...

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, #4)The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Previous Comments here.

Ok, so while I really enjoy fantasy series such as Mistborn, they do slow down my overall book consumption. So I planned on taking a break after the first Mistborn trilogy and clear out a stack of business books I've been meaning to read. But then we went on a bit of a longer drive and my wife announced she had just started the Alloy of Law, and was willing to start it over so we could listen to it together. And 4 days later (thanks to a plane ride over the Pacific) it is done and I'm fully engaged in the next trilogy, like it or not.

I'm a Sanderson fan boy on here enough that I don't need to parrot my appreciation for his craft again. But I kinda will anyway.

This book kicks off the follow on series to Mistborn and is an awesome extension of what was established in that first series. Superb characters, dialogue, and action. If I had a gripe it would be that like an action movie, some of the fight scenes stretch what is believable given the rules of the book. But those details are easy to disregard in the moment. A better gripe would be: how do people have Koloss blood? They don't reproduce, so how can they have interbred?

I'm looking forward to Shadows of Self to continue the story, although I hope to finish at least a couple of those business books on this trip.

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's WealthyThe Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great study of the classic recipe of wealth. The message of frugality, humility, hard work and consistency is something that is lacking from the millennial mindset. I noticed that while the message of frugality seemed to be a common theme, it was generally a relative comment. It isn't that these millionaires didn't live comfortably, and have what they wanted in life. It is more that their desires were modest, down to earth desires revolving around their families and security. If you dig beneath the surprise that the millionaire group members were not caviar eating snobs, you find that the stories he cites were ones of gifts for kids, paid college tuitions, paid off cars of their choice, fishing boats, vacations, etc. The key is that none of these features were gaudy, or even came close to testing the limits of the financial means.

The other thing I noticed is that the recipe for success in this book was not just financial. There was a strong social correlation to those who succeed financially. They lived among the middle class, and married spouses and then stayed married to them. How much impact would it have if society just returned to these basic principles?

This book is a little dry, as it slows down at the end, and tends to interrupt dialogue with numbers. However, if you give it a chance I think the data presented here, while dated, could be hugely valuable to future generations.