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Friday, November 27, 2015

The Alloy of Law - Brandon Sanderson

Three hundred years after the collapse of the Final Empire, humanity has evolved and life has changed. There are now trains, guns, and even electricity is starting to come into vogue.

Waxillium Ladrian is one of the lucky, born with the ability to use both Allomancy and Feruchemy metal magics. Although born in a high House, he decides to become a lawman in the Roughs in an attempt to save the citizens there. After a tragic incident where he loses somebody he truly cares about, he decides to give up his tough life and take up his duties as the head of House.

At first he finds contentment fixing things from behind a desk, until his House becomes a victim of theft. He discovers that many Houses are having their supplies stolen during transport on trains. Even worse, he finds that nobile women are being kidnapped in the process. Wax resists getting involved, despite the prodding of his friend Wayne, until he's finally face to face with the ruffians and forced to act.

The part I enjoyed the most in this novel is the imaginative ways the characters used there Allomancy and Feruchemy in order to resolve problems, especially at the climax. Since I read the original Mistborn trilogy, I found the evolution of technology and religion interesting, as well. Unfortunately, I didn't find the rest of the novel satisfying. I didn't particularly care for any of the main characters and their relationships. And banter between the characters was often irritating more than entertaining. After reading this standalone novel, I don't foresee myself reading the rest of the series because I just didn't feel immersed like I did with the previous novels in the series.

Books in the Series:
Shadows of Self
The Bands of Mourning

Original Trilogy:
Mistborn

Friday, November 20, 2015

Where the Long Grass Blows - Louis L'Amour

Bill Canavan came into the valley with a plan to stake a claim for his ranch. Despite being a latecomer, he manages to strike a deal to get the most desired land in the valley containing the only watering hole. And, as luck would have it, he manages to find the love of his life in the same valley. But luck has a sense of humor.

With his stake claimed he becomes the target of multiple assassination attempts and, as luck would have it, Dixie Venable is actually the fiancee of his biggest rival Star Levitt. The only way to come out on top is to catch Levitt in his web of lives to set the entire town free of his tyranny.

This book contained the standard western tropes I expect of the genre. A clever and cocky cowboy rides into town ready to save the town from their covert bad guy and sweep his lady love off her feet.

There's nothing special about the writing style and no twists. Just the standard fair you'd expect. For what it is, it's an enjoyable read.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Where Were You Last Pluterday? - Paul Van Herck

Sam led a comfy life by writing science fiction books for his publisher, until his publisher informs him that sci-fi is out and so is he. Sam decides to become a newspaper man and is content to lead his normal poor life, until he sets eyes on the most beautiful woman. Obsessed with her, Sam borrows a car and some nice clothes and pretends to be the son of a rich oil merchant at a party to grab her attention. Luckily for Sam, the woman is quite interested in him and sets up a date for next Pluterday. He's so excited that he doesn't think until he gets home: When is Pluterday?

The search for Pluterday and his beloved sets Sam on a bizarre journey through several lifetimes to reach his goal. Along the way he buys a time machine, gets married, kicks some martians, meets death, and even becomes a rich man.

This novel had me laughing out loud at several points as the narrator navigates through multiple lifetimes and tries to better society by buying out millionaires with his absurd amount of banked capital. Those who enjoy satire or just simply the absurd are in for a treat if they can manage to get a hold of this elusive novel.

Recommended Reads:
Flatland - Edwin A. Abbott
Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

Friday, November 6, 2015

Cheyenne Medicine Wagon 2 - Gary McCarthy

Once again on the run, Henry Wallis hitches a ride with the over-confident Samantha in her medicine wagon on the way to Cheyenne. The straight shooting doctor just wants to earn an honest living, while the gritty Samantha is perfectly fine selling her snake oil cure and picking pockets, which lands them in trouble multiple times.

Encountering injured people, the doctor does his best to patch up and comfort them with his modern doctoring knowledge, while Samantha uses her experience and kindness to get them through their lumps.

While Samantha is hard-headed and kind, Henry is high-handed and acts as a good Samaritan. Their personalities complement each other as they journey through the wild west and into small towns. There's nothing that stands out about this story, but it helped pass the time during my commute.

Books in the Series:
The Medicine Wagon
Trouble in the Teton Valley