Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What's On My Plate

This post is about books that are "on my plate" so to speak. These ones are next on the list, because these are books that I actually requested and/or won from publishers/blogs.

I am sharing them with you so that you will know some of the books I may be reviewing...and reading... Well, I will most likely read them first.

They are, from left to right:

Sword of Fire and Sea, by Erin Hoffman (published by Pyr)
Kings of Eternity (published by Solaris)
The Black Chalice by Steven Saville (published by Abaddon)
Agatha H and the Airship City by Phil & Kaja Foglio (published by Night Shade Books)
Never Knew Another by J.M. McDermott (published by Night Shade Books)
The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones (published by St. Martin's Press)
The Falling Machine by Andrew P. Mayer (published by Pyr)

These, as well as the ones I won from the Best SFF Novels of the Decade Readers Poll, are all fair game for reviews. So that's what's on my plate, my metaphysical platter of reading materials.

Also I already have started Sword of Fire and Sea. Erin Hoffman knows lots of big words.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Wise Man's Fear

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss is the sequel to The Name of the Wind. I feel like it might be kind of hard to review because it's a sequel… and so you've either read the first in the series, or you haven't. And if you've read The Name of the Wind and you liked it, chances are, you've already read The Wise Man's Fear. So I am going to try to avoid preaching to the choir in this review.

I really took my time with this book. I read it over like four months. It just didn't grab me the way the Name of the Wind did, where I just couldn't put it down. And from my perspective, for that reason, The Wise Man's Fear wasn't as much of a page turner as The Name of the Wind. 

Why? I think it's partially because there are so many side-stories. I didn't get a sense of reading through Kvothe's daily life. It was almost like reading about him going on vacation. Fortunately, I do feel like the author knew what he was doing because it resolves quite nicely.

Pat is remarkably transparent about his writing process. He wrote the whole story through first, and then came the process of revising, editing, and shaping it into books. I really want the whole story because that's how it was conceived. The endings of both books are anticlimactic. Of course, this is fine because there is more to come, the third book in the trilogy tentatively titled The Doors of Stone.

Despite longish pacing compared to The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man's Fear is a very entertaining book that definitely has its moments of transcendence. There are times when I really, really felt that Pat was being subversive about the fantasy genre, which is part of what he wants to do. When I caught onto it, I was like, yeah that's funny. And of course, there is a lot of excellently clever language, and I noticed the writing was often poetic as well. 

Personally, my favorite part of the book is when Kvothe is in school. That seems to be the most interesting and important to the main story, while he does become a legend from his other exploits. I can't wait to read book 3 because I really hope it pans out into the story that lives up to the legend he is supposed to be. In other words, I hope Pat doesn't take the idea of subverting the fantasy genre too seriously. Patrick Rothfuss is a remarkable writer, and I know anything he does will be well worth reading. I can't wait to see how he continues telling this story.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Demon's Souls

Well, I have really been enjoying the heck out of this game. The world, though, is sometimes like hell. It's very scary, and it's very dangerous. I have a feeling I am going to be playing this for a while longer until I've experienced the entire game. Highly recommended.

Try out the Temple Knight class for Heavy Armor. Although you'll want to switch to a different weapon than the Halberd, such as a Long Sword. Whatever class you pick, if it's melee, I would train a bunch of Endurance.

So yeah, the game is very tough. The first level is tough. If you can get through it, and at least the first level of each other world though, you should be able to beat the entire game if you stick with it, and have patience. It's a lot of fun. Some frustration, yes, but very rewarding. Ultimately though, I would say the difficulty is a bit too high. I think this about other games too though, so maybe it is just me.

There is a New Game Plus (NG+) function, which allows you to play the game again. The catch is that the difficulty is increased by as much as 40%. Yikes! The new game plus was indeed...frighteningly difficult. My character in Demon's Souls needs to have a more focused build.

I started a new game with the Hunter class and I've been enjoying that as well as the online multiplayer experience. It's fun to join someone else's world and fight a boss together in order to resurrect yourself.

There's also a sequel called Dark Souls coming out in October, on both Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. I will get it for my PS3. In fact I already have it preordered.

I hope that they reprint the Demon's Souls Deluxe Edition w/ Artbook & Soundtrack CD, which comes with a strategy guide. They can be found on ebay and Amazon, but they are overpriced. Oh well.

All in all Demon's Souls Greatest Hits is an amazing single player experience rpg with an online mode as well. It may ocassionally be frustrating, but the experience is worth it. It has changed the way I think about action rpgs.