Playing & Reading: Week of 7/10/16 to 7/16/16

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Alright you lovely folks, lets do this thing!

—–PLAYING—–

Getting more and more into creating Youtube content. So far, I have played a bit more Renown Explorers, to get the 2 part video series together for next week. I got Call of Duty BO3 MP Starter from Humble Bundle, so that’s cool. Gonna do a video on that. Played a bit of Kingdoms of Amalur and posted a video for that. Whats really crazy is the positive response I have been getting about KoA and the video. My reddit post about it is nearly 100 positive Karma, which is absurd, and I have over 500 views. So that’s really awesome. I also just did a video about the new Hearthstone Tavern Brawl.

I also had played some Megadimension Neptunia VII earlier in the week for my review of that. Christ that game. Its too much haha.

I am preparing myself for 7/28/16 and the release of CALL OF THE BEASTMEN! BRAY WITH ME BOYOS!

—–READING—–

Really Sanderson, I need you to stop messing with my emotions. I finished off Bands of Mourning and his novella Secret History and I am just eyeing him and his shenanigans.

I started reading the first book in Tad Williams Otherland series, finally. I am also considering the Rangers Apprentice series as one of my coworkers keeps telling me I need to play that. Finally, I finished EVERY BOOK in the Cape High series. I need more. Right now.

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Playing & Reading – Week of 5/29/16 to 6/4/16

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Its time. Its time! ITS PLAYING AND READING TIME! I bet you expected something different, didn’t you?

——PLAYING THIS WEEK——

Due to some issues involving mods, I had to restart my Total War: Warhammer playthrough, and at this time have put that on pause. Why? Because I got games to review! And, as I mentioned yesterday, the big one I have been playing this week has been Stranger of Sword City. I did my video that I will be putting into my review, and here is said video for those curious:

I will admit its not my best work due to some shoddy editing, but eh I aint a professional at that. I am a hobbyist with the videos. Although I am getting better as I go. Let me tell you though, this game is freaking HARD! If you want to see me suffer, skip to around 45 minutes to 55 minutes into the video and start there, and watch as the game throws horrible groups of enemies my way. Just…jesus it was trying to murder me on camera!

I also was given Battleborn while it was on sale by a friend, and aim to play more and review that as well. Also I was given Secrets of Grindea but have not touched it yet. I will admit I enjoy Battleborn quite a bit, the humor is nice and the gameplay is tons of fun. I am decent at Oscar Mike so far.

Beyond those two games, not much else has been going on. I got more SoSC tonight and tomorrow before I get my review done for Sunday.

——READING THIS WEEK——

I finished Shadows of Self by Sanderson and HOLY CRAP THE ENDING MOTHER OF GOD THE FEELS WHY DID YOU DO THIS SANDERSON WHYYYY! I need Bands of Mourning RIGHT NOW! ARG! This is how you freaking write a trilogy man!

I then started on An Ancient Peace by Tanya Huff, the first in the Peacekeepers series. I am at about 60% done and its honestly sort of dragging along. I find myself getting bored, which is never a good sign. Too much setup, and not enough suspense or action or anything really.

After this I think I am going to switch to City of Blades and see if that holds up compared to the first one.

Playing & Reading – Week 5/22/16 to 5/28/16

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Alright lets dive right in, as this will be a shortish week for me.

——PLAYING THIS WEEK——

Haven’t been gaming much. I have played about 3 hours of Total War Warhammer, and have even started a Lets Play of it. Gonna try to update that weekly (I have an episode queued up for this coming Wednesday, and already have my first up!). That game is phenomenal and I will be writing a review for it hopefully around Sunday for Vox Ludicus.

I have also started playing Moon Hunters, a Rogue Lite action game by a small indie studio, also up for review at Vox Ludicus. Honestly, Moon Hunters is really interesting but I have to try out its multiplayer options this weekend, even though I personally am a SP kinda guy.

Haven’t touched much else other then these two bad boys. I might play a bit of Lord of the Rings Online tonight with my wife when I get home, but that depends on her mood mostly. If not, I will be playing either Hearthstone (I need to do the Brawl this week) or more Total War Warhammer. I was thinking of starting over with my Dwarves honestly, as the Slayer King.

——READING THIS WEEK——

So in reading news, I finished both the Apocalypse Codex AND the Rhesus Chart by good ol Charles Stross. This series, the Laundry Archives, is phenomenal and I eagerly await the next book in the series. And that ending of the Rhesus Chart…god damn you Stross you have made me a tad upset!

I then started right into Shadows of Self by Sanderson, the 2nd book in the Alloy of Law trilogy. I own a physical copy of this at home but never have time to start reading it. So I grabbed a copy from my good old Public Library (Thanks OCPL!) and have been reading that as of yesterday. I missed Wax and Wayne, and Marisi and even Steris! Wayne has been getting some good character development so far.

After this book I have the newest Tanya Huff book, the first in the Peacekeepers series, along with the new Trial of Apollo book by Rick Riordan, and the first Alex Versus book. And City of Blades. I honestly have no idea which to start with!

Thats all for this week!  See ya soon gentle readers!

The Way of Kings, The Stormlight Archives Book 1 by Brandon Sanderson – A Review

This review was previously posted on Goodreads.

THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SOME MINOR SPOILERS YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

The Way of Kings is the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s challenger to the Wheel of Time series. Brandon Sanderson himself is the man who finished the Wheel of Time series with the last two books at the behest of the Estate of Robert Jordan, so he has the chops to write. Further, Sanderson has written quite a few books that I personally have enjoyed, including the Mistborn Saga and Steelheart, and the Rithmatist. It’s safe to say, I enjoy this man’s writing.

In the Way of Kings, the world is constantly ravaged by “highstorms” which basically appear to be Hurricanes. The world has adapted to it, and there is some sort of magical quality to these storms as the currency, these gemstones, absorb “Stormlight”. The gems act as both a lightsource frequently, and the currency as well.

The book follows three primary storylines using point of view styled storytelling, along with interludes using tertiary characters. The primary characters are Kaladin (an ex soldier turned slave turned bridgeman), Shallan (the sheltered daughter of a dead nobleman trying to save her house), and Dalinar (a Highprince and uncle to the king). Each character has their own goals and wants, and the storylines are all interesting in their own rights.

The book is LONG, at just over 1000 pages. But I found myself reading it nonstop as its very character focused. Each character was interesting and while seperate, eventually their stories start to intersect.

The story starts with an assassin, called The Man in White, killing the King of the Aleshi, on the night of their treaty signing with this group called the Parshendi. The Parshendi take credit for the killing, and a war breaks out. It has been 6 years since the war had started when our story begins.

Kaladin’s story focuses on his trials as a slave turned bridgeman, a person who has to run large wooden bridges for a highprinces army. The bridgemen as expected to die as they are basically bait for the Parshendi archers. Kaladin is basically a broken man but eventually starts to overcome his own issues and tries his best to rally his fellow Bridgemen and keep them alive.

Shallan however, is the daughter of a noble who has died, and his family has decided to hide his death in an attempt to avoid creditors. She goes chasing after the kings sister, Jasnah, to steal an item called a Soulcaster. She eventually learns several amazing things about herself and discovers a love of learning, as Jasnah is primarily a scholar. A lot of her story is focused on learning about the world and the history of the world.

And finally, Dalinar is the uncle to the King and a Highprince, basically a leader of a country. He is a very honorable man who dislikes the games his fellow highprinces play with the war, and follows a very strict “Code” and forces his children to follow it as well. He bodyguards his nephew against assassins as well. Dalinar is plagued by visions throughout the book and a great deal of his story is him trying to figure out if he is going mad or not, along with dealing with the politics of war.

By the end of the story all three plot lines begin to tie together, and the ending was satisfying while also making me want to read the next book to see how things turn out.

Some things that are truly fascinating to me is the usage of racism as a way of life. The characters in Aleshi, the main country, are divided by the Lighteyes, and the Darkeyes. Your eye color determines your station and if you are a noble or not. A Darkeyes cannot be a noble and generally must obey the orders of the Lighteyes. Kaladin is a Darkeyes, as an example, while Dalinar and Shallan are lighteyes.

Further, woman are the scholars in Aleshi, while men deal with war and the like. In fact, Men do not learn to read or write, having their wives handle such things. Its quite interesting as beyond there, the gender’s are basically equal.

The Parshendi are, at least for now, an Enigma. Not much is known about them from the character’s point of view beyond the fact that they sing nearly constantly, and they hold their dead with the highest reverence. Whats really interesting is that there is a race of people who are totally subservient to the Aleshi called Parshman, which appear to be cousins of the Parshendi.

The last thing I want to touch on is the magic system. As with all Sanderson novels, there is a magic system here, but there seem to be only a few practitioners. First there is Soulcasting, which is something Jasnah and others like her can do. It basically lets them transmute any one thing into anything else. Like turning stone into bread for example. This is something that people do with the aid of Soulcasters.

There is also Surgebinding, of which the only one the reader knows about at the start is the Assassin in White. Surgebinding lets him defy gravity, push or pull objects, and stick objects together. Surgebinding requires Stormlight to use, and a Surgebinder absorbs the Stormlight that is stored in the various gems.

Finally, there are the Shardblades and the Shardplate. These are more magical artifacts, left over from a time when a group of beings called Radiants walked the world. These weapons are bound to a person. Shardplate is basically power armor in fantasy form, increasing its wearers strength, speed, and defense. Shadeblades are almost like plasma swords. They can cut nonliving material likes it nothing, and living matter they “kill” without actually damaging it. Get hit by a Shardblade in the arm, the arm itself dies and can never be used. Shardblades also must be summoned, and if the carrier is disarmed of one it vanishes into mist.

The Way of Kings is an interesting book and looks like a great intro to a new series. My only real issue is with its length, as some people may put off from its sheer size. But if you enjoyed Sandersons previous works or want a fantasy novel that is not the same old same old, give Way of Kings a try.

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There are Exclusive Versions of Sword of Summer?!

Normally I wouldn’t be posting on the weekend, but I just found out about this.

You see, my budget this week only allows me to get one new book, when there are two books that I want. Those books being Magnus Chase Sword of Summer and Shadows of Self (Mistborn).

I have pretty much decided on Magnus Chase for the moment. I am a huge fan of the worlds Rick Riordan builds and Norse Mythology is awesome.

But it turns out…there are version exclusives depending on where I buy the thing!

REALLY?! Now I am torn. My original plan was to use Walmart, simply because I can get 10% off as my wife works there. And I could easily pick it up when picking her up from work on Tuesday. But now? NOW I DON’T KNOW! Walmart only gets this Door Hanger which I really don’t need. But if I get a copy from say Costco (and my dad has a membership there) I can get a bookmark. But then I would have to wait for the following Saturday. But if I get it from Barnes and Nobles I can get a cool Broucher! And if I get it from Target I can get a freaking POSTER!

ARG! Now I am freaking torn where do I get it!?

You have got to be kidding me!

Can I just mention how I just realized that BOTH The Sword of Summer AND Shadows of Self come out on October 6th?

This seems unfair to me. Why would the two biggest books I want right now BOTH release on the same freaking day?!

I cannot justify buying both at the same time! I just can’t! Unless they show up at Walmart…my wife works there meaning I could get a 10% discount….HRMMM

This might work out. Maybe. I dunno. Gotta plan for this now. I want both. And then in January Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley comes out and of course the sequel to Shadows of Self’s sequel The Bands of Mourning comes out on the same day, January 26th!

COME ON AUTHORS CAN YOU STAGGER YOUR RELEAES PLEASE?!

At least its finally getting here haha.

Shadows of Self (Excerpt) by Brandon Sanderson – A Preview/Review

This Excerpt was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest Review.

Wax and Wayne are back!  And this Excerpt has gotten me hyped beyond belief!

I will make no excuses: I love Brandon Sanderson’s work.  It started with the original Mistborn trilogy, then moved to Elantris, and then to the Rithmatist, and then to Steelheart and Firefight and finally the Stormlight Archives. I adore his style and his work.

So this is a sort of review/discussion/thoughts on the Excerpt from Sanderson’s upcoming work Shadows of Self.  Personally, my favorite of his works would be either the Stormlight Archives OR Alloy of Law, and I am happy to see him coming back to the story of Wax and Wayne.  And I just now got the joke with their names.  Jesus.

The excerpt, which as far as I was aware was at some point available for everyone, is the first few chapters of the story.  And boy what a story.  It starts at a meeting of a Senator who is trying to auction off his vote in the senate to a pile of shady characters.  Crooks, other Politicians, that sort of thing.  Its under the guise of an auction for a painting apparently.

A few moments into the auction however and things go south FAST.  Gunfire erupts, people go nuts, and the whole thing devolves into a giant slaughter.  The senator runs away to hide…and has his throat cut in his own safe room.

The opening was awesome but my major issue with it was simply the heading.  The chapter heading was 14 years later…but later in the excerpt they refer to events from Alloy of Law having only occurred a year or so prior to the events here.  So I am rather confused on the timeline.  Especially when Wax and Wayne get called to investigate the slaughter.

There is also the plot where Wax is still trying to hunt down those connected to his uncle from the first book.  He chases one man across the rooftops early on, a robber.  Wayne ends up using his disguise tricks to actually find the guy however.

Marasi is back as well, and since the events of the first book she has become a full on constable, working with them in a more investigative capacity.  She also still helps Wax and Wayne with their investigations.

You get a real sense of how time has passed since the first book.  Wax is still going to be married to Marasi’s sister Seris, and he is still both the head of house Ladrian as well as moonlighting as a vigilante.  Wayne still randomly trades objects.  Its good to see the humor and banter between the main characters, as it shows how familiar they are and really should be.

I don’t want to go too much further into the excerpts plot because frankly I feel that it should be experienced by oneself.  There are a few revelations that occur about midpoint into the excerpt that made me go “Whoa” as well, and things move at a breakneck pace.

This is definitely a book that is going on my shelf as soon as it releases.  As this is an excerpt I wont be giving it a rating, but I urge you, if you have any interest in unique fantasy stories or are a fan of Sanderson’s work you should check out both Alloy of Law and its soon to be released sequel, Shadows of Self.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Shadows of Self releases 10/6/15.

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