Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best Books of 2008 (in my humble opinion)

Best Debut: Mistborn-- The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson*
Runner-Up: House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo*

Best Title: PENDRAGON: Raven Rise by D. J. MacHale*
Runner-Up: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins*

Best Series Starter: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Runner-Up: House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo

Best Fantasy World: Mistborn-- The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
Runner-Up: Leven Thumps and the Wrath of Ezra by Obert Skye*

Best Whimsy: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling*
Runner-Up: Children of the Lamp-- The Eye of the Forest by P. B. Kerr

Best Christian Fiction: Sinner by Ted Dekker*
Runner-Up: House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo

Best Movie Adaptation: The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black**
Runner-Up: Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis**

Best Fight Scene: Isle of Fire by Wayne Thomas Batson*
Runner-Up: Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke*

Best Penultimate Novel: Brisingr by Christopher Paolini*
Runner-Up: PENDRAGON: Raven Rise by D. J. MacHale

Best Finale: Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke
Runner-Up: Artemis Fowl-- The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer

Best "To be continued..." Moment: PENDRAGON: Raven Rise by D. J. MacHale
Runner-Up: TIE!!!
Gatekeepers by Robert Liparulo* and The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan*

Book I'm Looking Forward to Most Next Year: The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Runner-Up: TIE!!!
PENDRAGON: The Soldiers of Halla by D. J. MacHale and Erec Rex: The Search for Truth by Kaza Kingsley

Author of the Year: Patrick Rothfuss (read his blog and you'll understand why)
Runner-Up: Brandon Sanderson

Book of the Year: Sinner by Ted Dekker
Runner-Up: PENDRAGON: Raven Rise by D. J. MacHale
Honorable Mentions:
Adam by Ted Dekker*
Charlie Bone and the Shadow by Jenny Nimmo
The Indigo King by James A. Owen*
The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson*
Chosen, Infidel, Renegade, and Chaos (The Lost Books) by Ted Dekker*
Watcher in the Woods by Robert Liparulo*
*denotes true literary merit
**denotes a really good movie

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!... and some reviews for you!

The day has come, at long last!

Here are a few quick reviews:

Germ by Robert Liparulo: A deadly strain of Ebola has been modified so it will target specific people. Be very afraid. Highly recommended.

My rating: 9/10

Dreamhouse Kings-- House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo: The old Victorian fixer-upper the King family moves into turns out to have a few mysterious (and dangerous) secrets. Even better than Germ.

My rating: 9.5/10

Children of the Lamp (whole series) by P. B. Kerr: John and Phillipa Gaunt find out they're djinn, and many exciting adventures follow. It gets better and better as it goes along. Definately worth a read if you loved Harry Potter (as I did).

My ratings:
The Akhenaten Adventure: 7/10
The Blue Djinn of Babylon: 7.5/10
The Cobra King of Kathmandu: 8/10
The Day of the Djinn Warriors: 8.5/10
The Eye of the Forest: 9/10

Friday, December 19, 2008

And Don't Forget...

I'll be posting the 2008 2nd Annual Writer's Notebook "Best Books of the Year" post early January 2009!

This was a great year for books, and there were some great award opportunities I saw when reading. I'll be reading a couple more books before 2008 ends for my own consideration. We've had everything from PENDRAGON's penultimate volume, to Artemis Fowl's final adventure, to high-profile books like Brisingr anf The Tales of Beedle the Bard (yes, I've read it). There will be categories as follows:

Best Debut (this includes if I'm reading the first book I've read from the author, and it was published in at least one edition this year)

Best Title

Best Series Starter

Best Sequel

Best Fantasy World

Best Whimsy (yes, I know)

Best Christian Fiction

Best Movie Adaptation

Best Fight Scene

Best Penultimate Novel

Best Finale

Best "To be Continued..." Moment

Book I'm Looking Forward to Most Next Year

Author of the Year

Book of the Year

Don't forget! Watch the skies... or something like that.

"Mistborn: The Well of Ascension" review

Before I dive into this review, let me warn you of this: the review of Well of Ascension (from now on referred to as WoA) will go deep into spoiler territory from Book 1, entitled Mistborn: The Final Empire,or Mistborn if you're short on time.

WoA picks up a year after where FE (heh, iron, metal joke) left off and where most fantasies end. The Ocean's 11-esque scheme worked exactly as Kelsier intended, including the death of a major character, and Vin, a Mistborn girl herself, killed the Lord Ruler and ended his thousand-year reign. Now she and Elend Venture, the man she loves, can rebuild the world, better than it was before.

Only it's not so simple.

Suddenly, three different armies attack the city of Luthadel, one of which is led by Elend's father, Straff. Not only that, but Elend begins to realize that giving power to the people just might not be the best thing just yet, especially since he isn't acting very king-like. And Vin starts to see phantoms in the mist-- one, an enemy Mistborn, and the other made entirely from mist.

The mists are starting to come out in the day now. And they kill people at random. Vin is on the verge of believing that the Lord Ruler may have been doing something right. And she, not he is the Hero of Ages. That's a lot on everyone's respective plates.

Maybe killing the Lord Ruler was the easy part, after all...

WoA pulls itself out of the muck that is normally reserved for the middle volumes in trilogies to deliver a sequel that is every bit as good as the first. In fact, some things are better. The book is bursting with action, suspense, romance, intrigue, and revelations, and I've just scraped the surface of the plot for this description. It's a satisfying read on all counts, and while it doesn't end as completely as FE, it gives enough closure to make it feel less cheesy and to make the wait for the time when I'm able to sink my teeth into The Hero of Ages, Book 3 in the trilogy, slightly more bearable.

My rating: 9.5/10