Bookish Wednesday: Best of 2017

Hey all I’m back with a short post for this week’s Bookish Wednesday. It’s my Best of 2017!

Best Novel Overall: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson. This should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this column frequently. I love Sanderson for his amazing works of fiction that are simply outstanding. Oathbringer is the third in the Stormlight Archives sub-series of the Cosmere mega-series, and covers so many amazing events that has huge impacts on the rest of the Cosmere potentially. So many interesting things happened in Oathbringer that when I was done with it a full week and half before it released for sale, thanks to Tor sending me a review copy, I was left with the realization that I had just made myself wait even longer than most people would have to wait for the next in the series. I’d call it a buzzkill to the emotional aftermath of finishing that book, but it wasn’t. I’m just excited to see what fellow 17th Shard members will dig up.

Best Debut Work: Morningwood, Book 01 in the Everybody Loves Large Chests series, by Neven Iliev. I mentioned it briefly in my post on this book, but I loved listening to this in audiobook form. Jeff Hays did an amazing job at narrating this book. I can’t wait for further entries in this series to come out in Audiobook format, so I can enjoy the various hijinks that will occur and the mayhem that follows.

That’s it for this week’s Bookish Wednesday.


Bookish Wednesday: Soulkeeper by Brian Simons

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering another LitRPG, if anyone wants to recommend another genre to me, please by all means leave a comment below with a title suggestion and it’s genres. It’s Soulkeeper, Book 01 of the Travail Online series, by Brian Simons!

Plot Synopsis: Coral joined the immersive virtual reality video game Travail Online because her waitressing job, like so many other jobs, was automated by a growing robot workforce. She starts as a Seamstress, hoping to craft useful clothing in-game to sell for real life cash. The game, however, has other ideas…

Plot: The plot of this isn’t really amazing. I won’t spoil anything, but this has nothing really new going on for it, just a mishmash of various plot devices that are commonly used in both the Fantasy and LitRPG genres. Now this isn’t as bad as Unbound Deathlords, but it comes pretty close. The only thing preventing me from really tearing into Soulkeeper is the fact that the author didn’t try to write about and characterize Depression in a completely bullshit fashion, among various other faults that Deathlords had.

Characters: The cast of Soulkeeper is pretty boring, we’ve got a stereotypical Ice Queen, Immature Adult Asshole, Glutton and finally a Noob. Really, this cast is so generic that I’m not even going to bother saying anything else.

Overall: This is barely above trash bin material, but there are worse books to read. Just not very many.

For those who like: Mediocrity, Fantasy, LitRPG, Generic.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Bookish Wednesday: Morningwood by Neven Iliev

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with what might be my favorite work from a debut author of the past year. It’s Morningwood, Book 01 in the Everybody Loves Large Chests series, by Iliev!

Plot Synopsis: Large chests are said to encompass all manner of hopes and dreams. Men covet them. Women envy them. But one fact holds true – everyone wants to get their hands on some big ones. The same holds true for one intrepid adventurer – a strapping young lad by the name of Himmel. Armed with his grandfather’s trusty longsword and the dream of being the strongest, he sets out on the journey of a lifetime! It is sure to be a long and dangerous road, fraught with danger! And it all starts with a simple test – reach Level 5 in the dungeon called the ‘newbie zone’ and earn the right to become a full-fledged adventurer! However, such things get hopelessly derailed when his adolescent mind beholds an exposed chest for the first time. A fateful meeting that would inevitably lead his life in a direction he never even dreamed of!

Plot: Now hold on before you start thinking I’ve absolutely lost my mind and reaching for the shotgun or pitchfork.  I want you to really look at the two definitions of the word Chest depicted in the picture above. Got it? If not just read the first chapter, it’s pretty freaking short, so even if you read at a like 10 words a minute you’ll finish it in no more than 10 minutes. (I might be exaggerating a bit). Now hopefully with your hands free of any sharp or explosive implements, I want to say that this isn’t what you’re thinking. It sounds incredibly immature, and I’ll say that the author wrote that for his actual Amazon page’s book description, but he did it for a very good reason. Go read that first chapter, you’ll get it. Now with all that said and done, EBLLC is a masterwork of comedy that pokes fun at the LitRPG and Video Game genres as a whole and it’s a hilarious ride.

That being said, there are some really risque parts, and fight scenes can get detailed. So kids absolutely, without question, not read this. It is NOT for kids. It’s a fairly short book, but I loved every freaking minute, I recently listened to it again while I was sick right before the Christmas weekend, and was having to hold back my laughter to avoid starting a coughing fit. Let’s just say that Josh Hays does an awesome job with this book.

Characters: I won’t get into the cast, because that would be spoiler territory. That being said I like our Lead Character quite a bit. He’s absolutely not what he appears to be. And after reading the book please don’t kill me for that last sentence. Neither is the rest of the cast, but I will say I enjoy every main character.

Overall: If you love Video Games, at all, and you aren’t a kid, you have to read or even better yet listen to this book. It’s an absolute must listen to for any gamer.

For those who like: Video Games, Comedy, Action, Adventure, LitRPGs, Stupendous Plot, Superb Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, but serious it’s a must listen to.

Bookish Wednesday: Super Sales by William D. Arand

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering a book I really earlier this year. It’s Super Sales on Super Heroes by William D. Arand!

Plot Synopsis: In a world full of super powers, Felix has a pretty crappy one. He has the ability to modify any item he owns. To upgrade anything.  Sounds great on paper. Almost like a video game. Except that the amount of power it takes to actually change, modify, or upgrade anything worthwhile is beyond his abilities. With that in mind, Felix settled into a normal life. A normal job. His entire world changes when the city he lives in is taken over by a Super Villain. Becoming a country of one city. A city state. Surprisingly, not a whole lot changed. Politicians were still corrupt. Banks still held onto your money. And criminals still committed crime. Though the black market has become more readily available. And in that not so black market, Felix discovers he has a way to make his power useful after all, and grasps a hold of his chance with both hands.

Plot: The plot is pretty amazing and while I won’t spoil anything I will say that I’m looking forward to the sequel. However the main plot device of this is pretty awesome so congratulations to Mr. Arand. This is a novel by the author of the Selfless Hero Trilogy so if you enjoyed those books, you’ll love this one.

Characters: Felix is a pretty awesome lead character, in that he’s not a hero. He absolutely is not a good person. He’s not malicious or anything, but he’s not a saint either. He’s just a normal guy, with a slightly not normal power. The rest of the cast is also awesome, and I honestly can say that I might have even looked forward to eating a pancake after reading this book, and I really don’t enjoy pancakes all that much. Waffles sure, but pancakes no.

Overall: This book is a great read, and while it certainly isn’t meant for kids, older teens might get a laugh or two out of it.

For those who like: Urban Fantasy, Superheroes, Villains, Drama, Action, Excellent Plot, Stupendous Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Bookish Wednesday: Into The Abyss by J. L. Langland

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering the first entry in a series I ran across recently. It’s Into The Abyss, Book 01 of the Demons of Astlan, by J. L. Langland!

Plot Synopsis: Turns out, the “Demon Weed” actually IS a gateway! A gateway to hell! Literally. Not a metaphor. Now, technically, the place was called “The Abyss” but it was, unequivocally, a street preacher’s vision of hell. And Tom Perkinje, transfer student to Harding High was now trapped in the Abyss after inhaling a grand total of two times. Oh, yeah, he was also a twelve-foot tall demon with hooves, bat-wings, horns, tail, full deal!  Now, as if that wasn’t bad enough, he was also enslaved, against his will, to a group of myopic wizards that had not only mistaken him for a demon on the Astral Plane; but who had bound him to his current demonic form and left him stranded in the Abyss to await their bidding. He really wished he had not let his new friend Reggie talk him into trying the stupid drug.

Plot: Okay other than an obvious if somewhat exaggerated warning against doing illicit drugs, this story is actually pretty freaking hilarious. Into The Abyss turns all the standard stereotypes on their head, which is very refreshing. Adding on to that with the huge amount of humor is just icing on the cake. It’s also a fairly long book, with it clocking in at over 24 hours long in Audiobook format and over 500 pages in print.

Characters: The entire cast is great, although my favorite character is probably Jen, although she has her really bitchy moments given her upbringing I’m not too upset at that. However the entire cast is awesome, if somewhat paranoid…

Overall: If you like Fantasy at all, you’ll enjoy the hell out of Into the Abyss!

For those who like: Fantasy, Transported to Another World Stories, Action, Adventure, Magic, Drama, Comedy, Awesome Plot, Stupendous Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Bookish Wednesday: The Builder’s Sword by J.A. Cipriano

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m giving an author a second chance. It’s The Builder’s Sword, Book 01 in The Legendary Builder series, by J.A. Cipriano!

Plot Synopsis: Arthur Curie never expected to wind up in Hell. At least, not because he found an ancient sword in a pawnshop. To make matters worse, Hell isn’t as he thought. It’s a desolate wasteland under siege by an all-consuming void known as the Darkness. Now, he’s trapped with no way home, a ragtag army of women, and a sword whose only power is to modify the abilities of those around him. Not exactly winning odds…

Plot: The plot would have been decent if it hadn’t broken it’s own rules it sets just minutes before. It’s a standard LitRPG sort of book, although calling it a LitRPG may or may not be fully accurate I don’t particularly care enough about this book to waste time pondering that question. I had hoped the author, who I called out for making really blatant references in another of his series World of Ruul, had improved over the terrible writing he showed in that book. He didn’t, he has a character explain to Arthur that this isn’t a game, it’s real life. So what does Arthur do? He immediately starts calling out orders like he’s playing an MMO in a raid encounter. He uses words and slang that wouldn’t make any sense to the other characters based on what the author first says. Even worse he has a character that is almost a straight up copy of the main character of Legendary Moonlight Sculptor. There’s only one difference and that is because the character is a woman. I’m okay with clever and subtle references to other works, or influences, in your writing. The World Seed series makes an excellent example of what I mean when it is referencing LMS. However I am not okay with a character blatantly performing and copying the same actions as other series’ characters. The one thing he has improved on in this book is the blatant character references that were so prevalent in his World of Ruul series. That’s about the only improvement I’ve seen in his writing.

Characters: None of the characters are particularly deep, and Arthur is about as smart as a brick. The fact he gets things done is more because he’s a gamer, not that he’s anywhere close to intelligent.

Overall: Skip this book, avoid it like the plague. In fact you’re probably better off avoiding this author entirely. Unless I see a clear improvement in later works by the author I’m going to steer far away from Mr. Cipriano and his terrible work.

For those who like: Mediocrity, Poor Writing, Terrible Plot, Even Worse Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, which should be just about everyone, except maybe Twilight fans.

Bookish Wednesday: Benvari Mountains by Michael Chatfield

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering the second entry in Dave’s adventures. It’s Benvari Mountains, Book 02 of the Emerilia series, by Michael Chatfield!

Plot Synopsis: As the fight for Boran-al’s Citadel draws to a close Dave’s learned one important lesson. To protect what he cares for, he’s going to have to become stronger. He can’t just sit back in Cliff-Hill and take things easy. Emerilia is filled with danger as well as possibilities. It’s time Dave became a Master Smith…

Plot: This entry is a quite a bit shorter then the first novel, which is a pity as I felt that there really weren’t enough action portions to this entry. It’s not a bad entry, I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I felt like it could definitely have had a bit more action packed scenes. Will this change how I see the series? I can’t say quite yet, if later entries follow this downward trend, then I will definitely be demoting my evaluation of the series as a whole. Being able to land your ending counts for a large portion of my own hectic and jumbled ranking system. Mass Effect 3 completely ruined the series for me, even if everything up to the last 5 minutes was amazing, those last 5 minutes destroyed the entire experience.

Characters: We got introduced to a few new faces, including Jessel and Anna. Of the newcomers Anna is probably my favorite and not just because she’s a bad ass Beastkin. Malsor and Induca are still some of my favorite characters as well as Dave and Dia so them showing up again in this entry were very welcome. The rest of the cast is still interesting.

Overall: An okay sequel, but lacking in the action department.