Michael Kramer

Tress of the Emerald Sea - a standalone novel of the Cosmere universe

Posted by Sevhina on Fri, 01/13/2023 - 03:11
Tress of the Emerald Sea Book Cover

If The Princess Bride were written by Hoid, also known as Wit, it would be something like Tress and the Emerald Sea. The tale begins as many YA fairytales do with Tress setting off to rescue the boy she loves from an evil sorceress. However, since Hoid is our narrator, it loses the feel of a YA book with the first detailed description of the gruesome way people die if they happen to breathe in a spore from the Verdant Sea. Since the Sea is made up of spores instead of water, it's a fairly common fate for those travelling across it. At least the Verdant is the least dangerous of the seas that she must cross to find her love while escaping smugglers, surviving on a pirate ship, and negotiating with a dragon. It's a good thing she makes some friends along the way because all of that is easy compared to facing down an immortal sorceress.

Mistborn - the 2nd Era comes to a close with The Lost Metal

Posted by Lore on Sat, 12/10/2022 - 04:49
The Lost Metal Book Cover

The Mistborn series started way back in 2006 and felt rather complete at the time. It was unique for many reasons, but one of the things that stood out was the detailed magic system that used various metals to generate amazing powers. Allomancers are able to metabolize metals and do amazing things with them, leveraging different metals in various ways. Most people gifted in this way burn only a single metal, but very rarely someone is able to burn them all, and such a person is called Mistborn. Little did I know at the time, but author Brandon Sanderson had a plan to keep the series going in a rather unique way. He wanted to take this magic based society and move it forward through time to explore how industrial and technological advancement would mix with magic. The Alloy of Law kicks off the 2nd Era and introduces two very entertaining main characters in Wax & Wayne, taking place a full 300 years after the original. This series combines a Wild West vibe with the Allomancy of the original series, adds in even more magic systems, and then expands to explore the Cosmere in a detailed way. Does it all add up to something worth your time or does Sanderson take it all a bit too far?

The Eye of the World - Wheel of Time, Book 1

Posted by Sevhina on Fri, 01/07/2022 - 22:22
The Eye of the World Book Cover

Amazon recently released Season 1 of the Wheel of Time based on the best selling series by Robert Jordan, which covers the first of thirteen books, The Eye of the World. While it may have served as the show's inspiration there is so much more to the book. This is a coming of age story framed by an epic quest and set in a world where the balance of power is in the hands of women rather than men. It's about five villagers from an isolated region who suddenly find themselves fleeing for their lives from legendary monsters and discovering that the world is much larger, and history far more complicated, than they ever imagined. All because one of the three boys will either restore the balance of the world and destroy the Dark One or doom them all if he gives in to the insanity that caused him to break the world in a previous life. 

Rhythm of War - the biggest book yet in the Stormlight Archive

Posted by Lore on Fri, 12/25/2020 - 10:46
Rhythm of War Book Cover

The Stormlight Archive continues with Rhythm of War, which is unbelievably even bigger than the first 3 books, both in number of pages (1,232) and scope of story. The war between humanity and the Dawnsingers has been waged back and forth for millennia in waves known as Desolations which are separated by centuries of rebuilding for the human civilizations that always get ravaged. This time around is different though as the Heralds who always lead humanity against the Dawnsingers are no more. They declared victory after the Last Desolation and have lain down their weapons for good. Of course the Dawnsingers were not defeated and now that they have returned yet again they find their human opponents woefully unprepared. Despite this disadvantage, Dalinar Kohlin has managed to lead a coalition of forces to keep them at bay but in his heart he knows he can't win a traditional war. Therefore he is looking for a way to strike a killing blow that ends this endless cycle of war for good, but unfortunately for him, so is the enemy, and they know a lot more about this conflict than he does.

Oathbringer - the Stormlight Archive focuses on Dalinar

Posted by Lore on Fri, 12/22/2017 - 10:14
Oathbringer Book Cover

Brandon Sanderson finally delivered Oathbringer, the highly anticipated third entry in the Stormlight Archive, and amazingly this volume is even bigger than the first two. As the books get bigger so does the scope of the story being told and that is almost hard to believe. Each of these books would be an entire series for many other authors and the truly amazing part is that Sanderson has 7 more entries planned before he is done. This book focuses on Dalinar Kholin and the events throughout his past that shaped the man he has become. Dalinar bears the nickname Blackthorn and it is time to learn why that is.

The Shadow of What Was Lost

Posted by Sevhina on Fri, 06/02/2017 - 09:18
The Shadow of What Was Lost Book Cover

​​​​​​​New author James Islington brings back epic doorstop fantasy with The Shadow of What Was Lost. On the surface this is another fantasy about a young man discovering his strengths as he does a lot of walking around while trying to save his world. But with everyone around him keeping secrets the group dynamic is always shifting as the characters learn more about each other and themselves.

Words of Radiance - redefining epic

Posted by Lore on Fri, 01/06/2017 - 09:46
Words of Radiance Book Cover

Brandon Sanderson's magnum opus continues with Words of Radiance (Book 2 of The StormLight Archive) clocking in at 1088 pages which makes it the biggest book ever printed by Tor Books. I only wish it were bigger - it's that good. The world is rich and deep, the characters are complex, and the magic systems are true Brandon Sanderson - well defined, unique, and interesting. All of the main characters are back and the story just gets bigger and bigger. For most authors the end of this book would be a satisfying conclusion to any series but it is obvious that this one is just getting started. Sanderson set the bar so awfully high with the Mistborn series that I am truly impressed he was able to surpass himself with the Stormlight Archive.

The Way of Kings - so much awesome

Posted by Lore on Fri, 12/23/2016 - 10:12
The Way of Kings Book Cover

Just wow. This is the first book of the Stormlight Archive series and it represents over ten years of world building on the part of Brandon Sanderson. The world is so rich and the magic systems are so detailed that this single book contains more depth than most Fantasy series do in their entirety. The paperback version is 1280 pages (the audiobook is 45+ hours) of great character development and story telling. The entire series is planned to be 10 books in total composed of two story arcs of 5 books each. The Way of Kings is an amazing work of fantasy that grabbed my attention from cover to cover and is not to be missed.

Mistborn - a great fantasy series not to be missed

Posted by Lore on Wed, 07/08/2015 - 18:35
Mistborn Book Cover

Mistborn is an excellent series and I thoroughly enjoyed every book in the original trilogy: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages. I was completely drawn into Sanderson's world of Allomancers and all of the interesting things they could do right from the start. For the uninitiated, Allomancy is the art of "burning" an ingested metal to enhance your own physical and mental abilities. One of these metals let you mentally push yourself off of nearby metal objects and another lets you pull the metal towards you. With each metal having a unique ability Sanderson is able to create a society where Allomantic powers are used in very creative ways and the magic system alone makes this series a win. There are 8 metals that can be ingested/burned and most Allomancers can only burn a single one; however, there are rare individuals who can burn all 8 and these are known as Mistborn. All 8 powers in one person - that's when things get really interesting.