Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

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Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle.

But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic–the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience–have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims.

Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead, and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them.

To have a chance at surviving—and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way—Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.

I picked this up at NYCC when I took the Book Wizard Quiz at the Penguin Random House booth. You were asked a few questions on the tablet and then your answers dictated which book you received. I can’t remember the questions or answers when I got Foundryside, but I would say that the Book Wizard was right! I really enjoyed Foundryside.

At first it took me some time to get used to the terminology, but Robert Jackson Bennett does a good job of explaining scriving. I really liked the imaginative mix of magic with science and what I loved was the mysterious mythology. I can’t wait to see what the next book reveals about the ancient and unknown history of the world Bennett created.

Besides the incredible world building, the fully developed characters really drew me in. They were complex and compelling. I loved the way their relationships developed and I was rooting for the good guys. Some of the characters were so funny. I love Clef’s personality, and I especially loved the conversations he had with Sancia. Another character who made me laugh was the Mountain.

The action is a page turner. Reading those scenes was easy to picture in my head. I can so see this becoming a TV series or movie.

Thank you Book Wizard for giving me a new world that intrigues my imagination. I am anticipating the sequel in 2020.

4 out of 5 Keys.

Dark Age by Pierce Brown **WARNING!**WITH SPOILERS**

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For a decade Darrow led a revolution against the corrupt color-coded Society. Now, outlawed by the very Republic he founded, he wages a rogue war on Mercury in hopes that he can still salvage the dream of Eo. But as he leaves death and destruction in his wake, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will another legend rise to take his place?

Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile, has returned to the Core. Determined to bring peace back to mankind at the edge of his sword, he must overcome or unite the treacherous Gold families of the Core and face down Darrow over the skies of war-torn Mercury.

But theirs are not the only fates hanging in the balance.

On Luna, Mustang, Sovereign of the Republic, campaigns to unite the Republic behind her husband. Beset by political and criminal enemies, can she outwit her opponents in time to save him?

Once a Red refugee, young Lyria now stands accused of treason, and her only hope is a desperate escape with unlikely new allies.

Abducted by a new threat to the Republic, Pax and Electra, the children of Darrow and Sevro, must trust in Ephraim, a thief, for their salvation—and Ephraim must look to them for his chance at redemption.

As alliances shift, break, and re-form—and power is seized, lost, and reclaimed—every player is at risk in a game of conquest that could turn the Rising into a new Dark Age.

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Morning Star returns to the Red Rising universe with the thrilling sequel to Iron Gold.

This was a rollercoaster!!! So much happens and I had so many emotions as it unfolded.
I have had a book hangover this last week, unable to move on, and have been spending lots of time on the Facebook DA discussion page while trying to come up with a non-spoiler review.

I am failing to come up with one. So buckle up, Howlers. This is going to be long and only for those who have read the book.

I’ll separate the review by the character POVs.

 You have been warned about SPOILERS!

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Pierce Brown Dark Age Discussion at Barnes and Noble August 7, 2019

I got to Barnes and Noble Union Sq at 9 am to get my bracelet. I arrived just as the store opened and I saw the queue of people waiting outside filing in. So I followed the line inside and it was very swift. People went in, picked up Dark Age at the front table and went straight back to the check out. I already had my book purchased from b&n online so I just showed them the receipt.

Then I went to work and got back to B&N around 5:15-5:30ish.

I decided to record the whole thing because I was (and still am) exhausted. I had spent the past several days reading as much and as fast as I could. About 130-150 pages a day. I was still 100 pages shy of finishing during the event.

It didn’t start until 7PM and I was reading up until it started. So yea, I recorded the whole thing because I wasn’t sure how much I would remember from being so tired and also, it makes it easier to write this if I have the video to look back on.

There are some breaks in the video. I tried to break it when people were laughing, but then Pierce would say something funny and I’d miss his one liners. But other than that I think the editing is almost seamless.

Highlights:

The beginning Pierce and Peter discuss their method of writing, how they outline and the layering of their drafts.

Pierce then discusses where Darrow and the Republic stands in the second trilogy, and was it all worth it.

17:15 – That is some Star Wars Sequel Trilogy shade right there. 😉 How the ST dishonors the sacrifices and accomplishments of the OT characters. I totally agree!

18:45 Lyria’s lack of agency but how her POV shows the disillusionment of the Rising.

21:00 Pierce talks about Roman history and Greek history.

25:00 The release date delays and how he kept going on and on with Ephraim’s POV. LOL

27:50 The order in which he wrote the POVs. Darrow, Lysander, Ephraim, Mustang then Lyria (or Lyria then Mustang.)

28:50 About the story having multiple POVs and climaxing at the same time. The innuendo is hysterical.

31:00 Audience Q&A begins.

51:00 Hysterical moment: The question about Mustang being inspired by his mother so how does he write sexual scenes about her?

53:11 The sexual innuendo about what the razors (swords) look like. The gift that keeps on giving. LOL

Around 56:00 – The TV show!

So since I was in the front row I didn’t have to wait long to have my books signed. When I got up there he remembered me (blushes) and then I asked if while writing does he find himself having to reread the pervious books to remember what he wrote.

He answered, “All the time.” That he will reread sections and use control find but would love if the fans built up the wiki pages.

I said that I wanted to do a whole reread of the saga and make an encyclopedia book. He encouraged that idea.

(Funny enough, when I finished reading the next evening I did catch a blooper! He didn’t check a name!)

We took a photo together and then he asked where my sister was. I told him she was at a class. He said to “send her my love” as he pounded his heart. How sweet is he?

So my very spoiled review is coming. I am still processing that mountain of a book. It will take a few days to write. I have no idea what to say in a non-spoiler review. It would be nothing but Servo-like profanity because it was a whirlwind!

Review of Iron Gold – the audiobook.

Iron Gold By: Pierce Brown
Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds, John Curless, Julian Elfer, Aedin Moloney

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I last read Iron Gold back in January of 2018. This week I listened to the audiobook for the first time to refresh my memory for Dark Age (coming out this Tuesday).

I have heard mixed reviews about the new voices. Some say that Lysander’s voice is too low and that he doesn’t do different voices for different characters speaking. Some say Lyria’s is too whiny and others say she has great emotion.

Here are my thoughts:

Tim Gerard Reynolds, as always, is perfect for Darrow’s POV. I have no complaints.

The voice of Lysander, Julian Elfer, was what I imagined a Gold like him to sound. Kind of stuffy and pompous. Something was off with the volume. His parts sounded lower and I’d turn up the volume. It is true that he doesn’t do many variations for the voices and it’s hard to tell who is saying what. Actually at 25% in I started reading along on my ebook.

Lyria, Aedin Moloney, has the accent I imagined her to have, but like the narrator for Lysander, she didn’t have much range for doing the different voices. Especially for Ephraim and Holiday. I will say though that I think she got the emotion of Lyria right: the anger and sadness.

After TGR the narrator for Ephraim, John Curless, was second best. John Curless is the only one to return for Dark Age. He really got the tone of Ephraim and was able to do more of a variety of voices. I really liked his accent for Volga and The Duke of Hands.

Listening to Iron Gold to refresh my memory was a smart decision. I forgot some details, but my feelings from the review I wrote in 2018 have stayed the same.

So excited for Dark Age! I’ll read the ebook first, then listen to the audiobook, and I will review both. I’ll reserve judgment for the new voices, though I think I will miss Julian Elfer and Aedin Moloney. I got used to them.

Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray, narrated by January LaVoy

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Witness the birth of the Resistance

When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.

Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy.

As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position—even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing.

This is one of the top notch Star Wars novels. It’s my first Claudia Gray novel and she is an excellent author. (I plan to read more of her work. My sister is a fan of her Firebird series.)

Leia is so in character and it’s fantastic. Gray wrote her perfectly. She really got her intelligence, her heart, her temper and her sass so well.

There is some action and adventure in the story, but it is more political – and not in a boring way. The story takes place six years prior to Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. Not an era I care for but after reading this I have more insight into how the First Order came to power.

January LaVoy’s narration was great. She sounded similar to older Leia’s voice. Her voice for Lady Carise Sindian was spot on because she sounded just like a prissy royal bitch. And I liked what she did for Ransolm Casterfo’s voice. It was great for his character development where he starts out as a stuffy ass and then by the end you are sympathizing with him.

I loved the development of the friendship between Leia and Ransolm. The turn around from enemies to friends to enemies to friends again was an emotional rollercoaster.

I can’t go further without going into some spoilers:

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Year Zero by Rob Reid

 

I got this book at NYCC 2017. I saw the author speak at a panel about deleted scenes and then went to his book signing.

I found his deleted scene (for After On) to be very funny and that prompted me to go to his book signing.

The plot of Year Zero had lots of promise and it started out really funny, but about half way through the jokes got old and I also became bored by the story. Sometimes it was hard to follow all the descriptions of copyright laws and the descriptions of the alien worlds. I hate to admit that I started to skim about three quarters of the way through.

Also, the footnotes were distracting. Small ones were fine, but they often turned into whole paragraphs. That tangent is just unnecessary and I also just skipped reading those all together towards the end.

I didn’t find myself connecting with any of the characters so in the end I didn’t really care what happened. Hence the skimming.

I feel horrible giving such a poor review but it is an honest one.

Since I already bought After On I will give that one a shot and hope I like it better than Year Zero.

2 out of 5 Downloaded Songs.

Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wolstonecraft Shelley, Narrated by B. J. Harrison

Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Wolstonecraft Shelley, Narrated by B. J. Harrison; 8 hours 19 minutes.

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It is the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein! It also October and I decided to read some ghoulish stories.

I first read Frankenstein almost 20 years ago when I was in high school.

So back then I was a bit bored by the writing. I still was at times because Shelly would go on a bit with some descriptions, and listening to Harrison’s soothing voice would allow me to doze off.

I do think this time around though that I appreciated the prose more and found some passages quite poetic. I do love that Mary Shelly was a woman ahead of her time to write such a deep, philosophical, science fiction story.

I am so used to the adaptations of Frankenstein that I forgot that in the original story it is never outright said how he makes the Creature. It’s not the digging up bodies and using lightening method we’re used to. It’s implied that Frankenstein made the body from scratch. Also, and maybe I fell asleep during that part, he is also never called Doctor Victor Frankenstein. Did he get his P.H.D.?

The reason that this story still stands today is because the philosophy and themes in the story are timeless. We’re a blank slate and what shapes us is nature and nurture together. Also, take responsibility for your actions. I am looking at you, Victor.

4 out of 5 Lightening Bolts

I just want to give a shout out to my two favorite adaptations:
– Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein, which is still hysterically funny.
– Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein, where Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternated their roles each night as Frankenstein and the Creature.