Ursula Le Guin - Tombs of Atuan

I was surprised when I started the book because it had a new protagonist, and Ged, from the first book, plays a more minor role.

Where the first book was about exploring identity and values, this book was more about power. The protagonist, Tenar, is made a high priestess of the nameless ones from the earth. She has dominion over her temple, but she is bound to her role and doesn't have the freedom that would come with knowledge. Much of the book was about her coming to terms with this and moving beyond it.

Ursula Le Guin - A Wizard of Earthsea

"A Wizard of Earthsea" may come off as following the traditional archetype of a wizard coming of age in wizarding school and fighting evil, but there are quite a few things that make it unique.

For one, when Le Guin wrote the book, that wasn't an archetype. Young adult fantasy didn't really exist then.

Jim Butcher - Cold Days

In the previous 13 Dresden Files books, the events were enjoyable, but they seemed disparate. There were epic conflicts involving faeries, necromancers, vampires, werewolves, crime lords, angels, demons, gods, wizards councils, evil islands, random individuals, and Harry Dresden, but there wasn't a sense that those were all connected. There were also a couple of things that Butcher had been foreshadowing for many books. With a couple of exceptions, "Cold Days" brings it all together.

Peter V. Brett - The Desert Spear

At the end of "The Warded Man," there are two questions: "what's happening with the Krasians, the people in the southern desert?" and "how will the protagonists mobilize the world to fight demons?" "The Desert Spear" answers both of these questions.

The book starts by describing some Krasian history, shedding light on some of the characters that we learned about in the first book. Their culture is much more foreign than the other cultures we're exposed to in the books, and Brett does a decent job of showing their value system.

Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

"Of Mice and Men" features two migrant farm workers during the Great Depression in California.

The book is about dreams. George and Lennie just want a piece of land to call their own, and they believe in this dream strongly enough that other characters start to buy in too. A place for soft things; a place for independence; a place for respect; a place to live in peace. This is tied in very strongly to socioeconomic status, age, and race, and the issues that it brings up about the American dream are as relevant today as they were then.

John Scalzi - The Last Colony

"The Last Colony" returns to John Perry and Jane Sagan, retired from the military, as they colonize a new world.

The book is about secrets and peace. Readers of the first two books will know that secrets abound among the Colonial Union. However, in the first two books, the secrets were largely incidental. Yes, they played a major role in the plot, but the protagonists were happy to live their lives without confronting the secrets, so they weren't a big part of the story.

John Scalzi - Ghost Brigades

Where "Old Man's War" was a smorgasbord of philosophical and technological ideas, "Ghost Brigades" was much more focused. "Ghost Brigades" is a novel about the nature of consciousness. What is a consciousness? Is it separable from intelligence? Is it separable from experiences? How does it change over time? How does it relate to choice? These are some of the questions that the book goes into. I happen to disagree with most of the opinions that the book espouses on the subject, but it's an interesting read nonetheless.

John Scalzi - Old Man's War

Humble Bundle is a nonprofit that lets you pay what you want for a bundle of things, and the money goes to charity. They are most fameous for their game bundles, such as the Humble Indie Bundles, which have 5 or so independent games, but recently they have started branching out into music and ebooks. I got "Old Man's War" in the Humble eBook Bundle. I had heard of the author before, but I never read any of his work. Apparently, Scalzi is the president of the Sci Fi and Fantasy Writers of America, and he's written a bunch of novels.

Brent Weeks - The Blinding Knife

"The Blinding Knife" is the sequel to "The Dark Prism," which I read over the summer. I didn't know when "The Blinding Knife" came out, but one friend gave another friend "The Dark Prism" to read, I commented on it, and he responded that the sequel came out.

My Book Ratings

In case anyone was wondering what my numerical book ratings mean:
5: If this book has flaws, I'm not sure what they are. It is well written such that it is an engaging page turner, and reading it has given me insight into the human condition. I don't give out many 5 star reviews. Read these books.


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