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The Dragon Reborn Audiobook 5: Tear and things

I had to read last weeks rendition of the greatest audiobook recap of the Wheel of Time or audiobooks in general because so much happens towards the end of this book it was hard for me to remember where I ended and what I included. So without further ado, let’s dive in.

From what I can gather (I didn’t really read last weeks blog, that would be called preparation, and everyone knows preparation is the antithesis of success) from the subtitle, no one had made it to Tear since the last time we talked. Which gives me so much to pick and choose.

I think it is fantastic how individually Nynaeve, Egwene, and Elayne can accomplish so many different things, but when they are together they constantly get duped or fall into easy traps. Case in point, them once again getting kidnapped, this time at least the Black Ajah did it. So these dumbasses go to stay with this old toad wise woman and within one night get bundled by Liandrin and gang. Like how dumb do you have to be to get kidnapped a mere week after getting . . . wait for it . . . kidnapped. Say I get in the van offering me candy as a child and I am justttttt about to get the old molestation pecker before I am miraculously saved. Next time I am walking down the street, you best believe I am looking every which way making sure no one is offering me candy. If the ice cream man so much as looks my direction I am running like I am Golden Tate burning that Pats corner last night when he turned around to make sure he was good (and gloat a little). Dumb and dumber and dumbest.

Who the fuck you think has to save these idiots? You guessed it, the hero of the Wheel of Time, my idol, Matrim Motherfucking Cauthon. This guy is the epitome of class, fresh off of murdering the dude sent from Caemlyn by Lord Gaebril after out-gambling the dude, Mat enters hero mode. He practically has to drag Thom to a wise woman, first off saving him, before he finds out the terrible trio got bundled. Wasting NO time, he saunters off to the stone of Tear to begin operation rescue. He then almost whips up on some Aiel who sneak up on him and basically does the fantasy version of a flash bang grenade by setting of some fireworks, anddddd takes down a bunch of High Lords of Tear in one-on-one combat using a quarterstaff. The best. Only quote I am including in this blog:

The man in the gold-striped coat sneered. “You will be honored to die on the blade of the High Lord Darlin, peasant, if I allow it so.” It was the first time he had deigned to speak. “Instead, I think I will have the pair of you hung by the heels, and watch while the skin is stripped from your bodies-”

“I do not think I’d like that,” Mat said.

So Perrin has got a lot on his plate. First he has to deal with Moiraine telling him what to do, then he decides that he would enjoy nothing more than just blacksmithing for the hell of it. The chapter where he just walks into a blacksmiths smitthy and starts working with no conversation is just peak Perrin. The guy loves manual labor. While he is working he has to deal with creepy ass Faile borderline sexually harassing him at the workplace. And the girl has the nerve to get trapped in World of Dreams. Perrin teams up with fan favorite Hopper and gets to chomping. Love it.

Lastly I will end with Rand al’Snore. I ended with him about to duel with Be’lal. SOOOOOO interesting. Book recap will with no doubt be coming next Friday.

Final Notes: Last night for the first time in a while I felt like the Giants had a realistic chance at beating an elite team. Then they didn’t. The over hit though.

Journey around the Wheel of Time

The Dragon Reborn Audiobook Update 4: All roads lead to Tear

Today is Friday and everyone knows Fridays are for updating the world on an audiobook I exclusively listen to while exercising. The journey around the Wheel of Time has been quite the thrill, the sweet sounds of Michael Kramer and Kate Reading have blessed my eardrums with nothing but the highest quality fantasy this forlorn world has to offer.

That opening paragraph was the blogging version of repeating the question to stall for time. The problem with doing all those Mat quotes last week was I kind of forgot where I left off so this recap is without a doubt going to be out-of-order with a heavy focus on recency.

Lets start with ya boy Perrin. Perrin is not what we would call your traditional ladies man. Sure the boy is a good looking meat monster, but his soft ass beta attitude directly impacts his ability to capitalize. He rolls in on Moraine half dressed and the dude just wants to talk. She even goes so far as to drop a hint, saying something along the lines of “you are a good looking man” or some other coy Aes Sedai flirting technique and the dude is just stuck in his own head. O well Zarine Bashere enters the picture, so Perrin’s non-player days are pretty much over at this point anyway.

I would like to talk about Perrin’s clear highlight of the book. Look Perrin puts in that fucking work, no one would ever call the guy a bitch, and there are a few times in this book in particular when he goes green-eggs-and-ham on some fucking clowns. The first was when he smoked that Myrddraal with the ax, sure the woman he was trying to protect died but that is irrelevant, the actual fight was hardddddd.

So in Remen two hunters of the horn have captured an Aiel man, later revealed as Gaul, and left him in a cage in the town square. Perrin springs the dude from the trap when they encounter a group of whitecloaks. I fucking love the Aiel sometimes, that whole wrapping the black cloth around their faces thing and dropping dope one-liners gets me every time. True to form Gaul drops an all timer “Do you like to dance, Perrin Aybara” and then the two of them absolutely slaughter the whitecloaks. I know Perrin hates killing but damn that is a fun read.

This is getting long so I guess I will have to do some highlights. Nynaeve, Elayne and Egwene meet the maidens of the spear and we get introduced to Aviendha (no way I will ever remember how to spell that). Unsurprisingly get nabbed again and are being sold to a couple of Myrddraal when the Aiel come and save them. At this point the Aiel have completely massacred all the dark friends, and they have the two Myrddraal surrounded. Now it’s mentioned 9,000,000 times how Myrddraal scare the shit out of everyone, but the Aiel are taunting them with classic barbs and completely humiliating these evil ghost ghoul things.

As they circled, the Aiel drummed their spears against their small hide bucklers. Thrum-thrum-THRUM-thrum . . . thrum-thrum-THRUM-thrum . . . thrum-thrum-THRUM-thrum. The Myrddraal turned with them, and their eyeless faces seemed uncertain, uneasy that the fear their gaze struck into every human heart did not seem to touch these.
“Dance with me, Shadowman,” one of the Aiel called suddenly, tauntingly. He sounded like a young man.

So fucking badass. Aiel are awesome.

I want to close this with an update on the hero of the story. Mat delivers a letter to Morgase, who he thinks about dancing with just thought it was important to add that the man has the confidence to try and get with the Queen, and is mad at Gaebril for kind of demeaning him and planning to kill Elayne, Egwene and Nynaeve and drops a classic.

“What’s this, lad? Coin?” “Stakes.”Gaebril doesn’t know it, but he and I have a wager.” The cat jumped down as Mat picked up the wooden dive cup and spun the dice out on the table. Five sixes. “And I always win.”

Happy Friday!

Final Notes: This is going to seem like bullshit, but I actually bet the Rams at +1.5 last night and of course didn’t write about it. Proof is here:

Book Reviews

Kellanved’s Reach: Path to Ascended Fantasy Wrap-up

Though I previously spoiled that this was the next in the mysterious trio of books I managed to finish while traversing the wilds of Colombia (review coming soon) I think it was fairly obvious that this would be the next book on the agenda. I NEED to start cranking these reviews out more frequently because I keep finishing books and am starting to develop a backlog. Kind of an embarrising thought, I can read a 500ish page book in less time then it will take me to write 500ish words on it. This is why I make no claims to be a writer, just a man who enjoys reading dope fantasy and failing at my dreams of being a pro athlete.

The final book of the Path of Ascendancy prequel trilogy by Ian C. Esslemont nicely ties up the loose ends that we know have to be tied up before the events of the main story line can begin. Perhaps because of this there seemed to be a lot less beating around the bush, Kellanved and Dancer get right to work on trying to acquire the throne that will let them control the T’lan Imass. There journey to do so is filled with the typical humor and near death experiences which made this trilogy so enjoyable in the first place.

The I guess plotline of this book is the typical sprawling mess that connects at the end. Kellanved is attempting to maintain his upstart empire but of course has grander aspirations of increasing his magical powers. To do this he follows a lead on an obsession he has with a flint arrowhead, correctly guessing that this will lead him to the throne of the T’lan Imass. After successfully acquiring the throne he gets his revenge on Quon Tali and takes control of the city, and is crowned emperor for his efforts. Hence forming you know, the Malazan Empire.

The more interesting story is the Greymane origin story. So Greymane is on the run with his outlawed army, managing to stay one step ahead of death and eventually they all die. Greymane is featured promienatly in all of Ian C. Esslemonts novels so it was cool to see where he came from and how of course Kellenvad had a role in it.

The highlight of this book is this scene where these two dude who have escaped a castle are trying to join the Crimson Guard, and are forced into a sparring match with the weapons master and the one dude, HOLY SHIT WHAT IS HIS NAME, is a mage who cannot be hit. So the guy just keeps trying to wack him with a stick and whiffing and everyone is giving him shit. Such a terrible description by me but such a typical Malazan scene that satisfies the primal craving to see some fighting but also has both a sense of hilarity and realism that brings the Malazan world to life.

Overall this is a worthy edition of the sprawling mass of Malazan Empire novels and if you already read the first two this review is pointless because you are going to like the third. The Malazan Empire books are easily in my top 5 favorite series of all time and since both Erickson and Esslemont seem to have unlimited work ethic I am excited to know that they will continue to crank out these books for all time. This review was not great, I am willing to admit my own shortcoming here. Read the book, read the series.

Journey around the Wheel of Time

The Dragon Reborn Audiobook Update 3: It’s the return of the Mat(ck)

One morning this fine week I woke up and realized that the summer had officially passed us by. The muggy atrocity that was this summer’s weather was a thing of the past. Aggressive sunlight burning the poor crown of my head was no more. A slight chill in the air made me regret my choice of running attire, as my nipples turned to glass cutters and got rubber raw like Bob Kraft in a Jupiter massage parlor. Cue the joke drums. While the end of summer is usually a sad time for me, as I am just a summer child, there was something I knew would brighten up the day. For I am at the part in The Dragon Reborn where our hero has returned to us. I am of course talking about Matrim Cauthon.

The meddling Aes Sedai perform the only healing that brings me bliss. They separate Mat from the dagger of Shadar Logoth. But Mat doesn’t just get healed like no bitch, he drops some fucking bars on those annoying ass clucking hens. And with that I present my next edition of great quotes.

” ‘I am a free man, Aes Sedai. I am no Aes Sedai meat.’ That is what he said.”

As your boy is getting healed, he wants to let them know what the fucking deal is. He is noones bitch. They may heal him, but they don’t own him. Such a power move to be on the brink of death and be talking shit as people are saving him Aes Sedai – -100000 Mat – 1

A visit with them, a day to see the city, perhaps a game with the dice to pad out his purse, and then he would be off for somewhere where there were no Aes Sedai.

At this point Mat has been awake for a total of five minutes before he starts thinking about stacking those golden marks. He has three things on his planner: reluctantly say bye to his hometown friends, see the city, and get to gambling. The boy was born to get that bread so he wakes up thinking about the money. In the immortal words of Gudda Gudda “Okay I wake up in the morning brush my teeth and count the money.” I have no doubt this line was in direct reference to Mat.

“Not your marks,” Mat said, shoving them in his coat pocket, “mine.”

There are some chapters that I vividly remember when I read this series, the chapter where Mat whips Galad and Gawyn while sparring is one of them. It is an all time chapter and truly shows why I am a Mat stan . So Mat just gets denied by a girl I won’t mention since she passed on our hero and sees these two royal scrubs sparring with the warders. Mat gets this great idea in his head, I can beat these clowns senseless and get paid to do it. Of course since the women are watching he wants to put on a show. He talks mad shit to them, goading them until the head Warder sets up the match. The stakes are 2 silver marks from both of them to 2 silver marks from Mat. Mat goes to work on them, embarrassing the hell out of Galad and Gawyn as they fight him with practice swords against his quarterstaff. When Gawyn hands over the money, Mat lets him know who calls the shots, not your dough boyyyyyyyy it’s mine.

After rummaging a bit, he brought out two silver pennies from his pocket. One more than paid for the wine, but he slipped her another for her eyes. “My friend will be joining me.”

I think I will finish this up with the quote above. Starting to run a little long. Mat finally gets to gambling and goes on an absolute heater. Kind of the exact opposite of me and Thursday Night Football bets. Fuck you Aaron Rodgers. Mat has acquired major stacks, and sure he kills a man, when he heads in to a bar and sees the legend Thom. Sitting at a table, he shows his generosity by giving the server a biggg tip. Listen Mat is a ladies man, the dude gets it. He didn’t give her an extra silver mark because she had buxom chest (is that #metoo proof?) he complimented her eyes. Classy move, classy man. Also he bought a drink for his boy, respect.

So ends a ridiculously long blog. I know I skipped this last week but I was in Florida so I apologize for nothing. I will apologize for the last update because I started two consecutive paragraphs with ‘So’. Sloppy, I made sure to save that particular paragraph starter for the last one. Once again fuck Aaron Rodgers. Till next week…

Book Reviews

Deadhouse Landing Wrap-up: Path to Ascended Fantasy

About a month ago I mentioned that I went on a little reading spree and finished a few books that had been sitting on the virtual end table. One of those books was Deadhouse Landing by Ian C. Esslemont. To set the stage a little bit, Deadhouse Landing is a novel of the Malazan Empire, which for anyone familiar the the Malazan world means its place in the grand scheme of things is very confusing. It is book 2 of The Path to Ascendancy, hence the clever ass subtitle of this blog. The Path to Ascendancy is a prequel trilogy to the events of both Esslemont’s and Erickson’s respective Malazan series’.

It is always a really weird experience when it comes to the Malazan Empire books. Erickson and Esslemont have very different story telling styles. Esslemont is much more direct. His stories are linear, his characters are obvious, he does not spend time wading in internal dialogue. Not a knock on Esslemont, it is just a writing style that is much more ordinary. Erickson is all over the place, most of his novels, especially the later ones, spend significant time wading in moral philosophy and internal dialogue. The writing can be heavy at times and several pages can go by before the character is done thinking.

Esslemont’s books are the much quicker read, and this book was no exception. Prequels are tough, the first book in the series was Dancers Lament and I have to admit I got kind of bored about halfway through it and put it down for the better part of like two years. This I read in two days, which says a lot about how much fun I had reading it. I couldn’t put this book down.

The plot boils down to Wu, later Kellenvad, and Dancers take over of Malaz Island, which later turns into the Malazan Empire as well as their struggle to enter the Deadhouse. I say prequels are tough for the obvious stuff. We already have an idea of who these characters are in our heads, so any diversion from that and I instantly get angry. The biggest thing for me is that with a prequel you already now the outcome, so it is especially important to make the journey fun. When you can’t rely on the wow factor or the big reveal you have to make the action entertaining. That is kind of what stalled me out in book one. Like we know all these characters live so the stakes are instantly lowered.

Another thing that really bothers me is when new elements of magic, or people, or creatures or plot line are inserted into a prequel in order to spice things up. Then when you re-read or think about the original series it is through the lens of “this is stupid because it doesn’t have this new thing” or the story doesn’t make sense anymore with the new parameters set. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the biggest culprit of this ever. Esslemont does not do this, so another point in his favor

Wu is just such a great character. Kellenvad is really a huge behind-the-scenes guy in the Malazan Empire series that to see his origin and to get more of direct interaction with him was not only well done but wildly entertaining. There are points where shit he did or said made me actually laugh, which is saying a lot. I mean he is the clear highlight of the entire trilogy. Spoiler alert the next review is book 3.

Dassem is just the best, his whole greatest fighter in the world thing gets me every time. The best scene in this book is this pointless one-on-one fight he has with a grade A hater and he just whips him. Lifestealer for life.

This book is great. Anyone who is a fan of the series I am not telling you anything new and you probably have already read it. If you haven’t stop wasting time reading The Dark Tower and support good fantasy.

Final Notes: This was very rantish. Next one will talk more about the actual book. I don’t know how else to get people to believe in Malazan. Also these covers are dope.

Book Reviews

The Dark Defiles Wrap-up: Defiling expectations of good fantasy

Ehh not my best title. Then again I am exhausted with writing about this series. I finished this book on the way to Colombia and the time spent reading this book was worse than anything I experienced on the entire vacation. Though I did have a great vacation so I guess the bar for that wasn’t very low. Either way l have finished the series meaning fortunately this is the last blog I will ever write about it.

I want to take a look at some of the positives first, since it is much easier to just blast the shit out of this final catastrophy. There are some better parts, at one point we get introduced to this charctar Sharkmaster Wyr, who was some famous pirate guy. He is imprisioned on this ship in the harbor where he is supposed to be living out the remander of his days. Both interesting and well done. The backstory on this dude is badass. To me this like one chapter of a minor character who winds up having no real impact on the plot was the best part of the book. What this tells me is that while I’ve spent way more time than what is healthy bashing this Richard K. Morgan guy, he defienitly has the talent to be a good writer.

The problem is his story stinks. He relies on magic/sci-fi technology to kind of clean up these situations the characters get in, and it all feels meaningless in regards to the story. The characters themselves are very stereotypical. I get the vibe he goes for but to me the plot kind of falls apart because the situations the characters find themselves in are just not well done.

A big part of the book that gets a lot of praise is the fact that the main character Ringil is gay. He subverts your typical gay character in a fantasy book stereotype by being this grizly, hardened veteran who men rally to and are willing to follow into anything. This is great, and I fully support the idea of having a character like Ringil. The problem is the Ringil we get is boring and unimaginative. His being gay seems to be used to mask the fact that the character isn’t very fleshed out. And there also is a noticeable drop off of graphic sex scenes throughout the series. The first book was chock full of them, by the last book I am not ever sure if anyone has sex. Just seems like what could have been fascinating and progressive is instead a tool to boost lazy writing.

This third book has a plot that is alllllll over the place. The end of the second book they plan on going on this journey to an island to find a dead former wizard king of the humans before the Dwenda resurrect him to take over the world. Within 100 pages instead we have a completely different book. The plot ambles on, Egar Dragonbane gets killed by a . . . you guessed it, Dragon. Archeth finds herself through the challenges placed on her and becomes the next viable option for the throne. Ringil gets his revenge and when he finally meets the great bad wizard king, easily deals with him in 3 pages. We have been hearing about this guy since book one, he’s gone in 3 pages. Reminded me of the death of the Night King in GoT. Super underwhelming.

There are some cool characters and parts though. Hjel is an awesome dude, his backstory about wishing to be this great warrior and like becoming a musician was entertaining. Jhiral the actual emperor was fun. But these people played such unimportant roles that they became irrelevant. I believe if he made these characters have their own POV, maybe we would have got somewhere.

Rant over. Series over. Moving on.

Journey around the Wheel of Time

The Dragon Reborn Audiobook Update 2: A wolf and a white tower

Fresh off of losing even more money on the illustrious FanDuel app (sponsor me por favor) is the Friday Wheel of Time Audiobook update. Having put in some hefty mileage since last week there is plenty to talk about. First though, I know that title makes it seem like Perrin had some crossover with Tar Valon. He didn’t, it is just a much better subtitle.

BUT that doesn’t mean that there was no Perrin. In fact I thought this entire book was Perrin. Which is not a bad thing, he has a lot of action happening around him. He is at the point now where he is being bombarded by this wolf life and he is being a little bitch about embracing it. Like your boy Hopper, a true OG, is basically telling Perrin to stop being a baby and the guy can’t get out of his own head.

So essentially Trollocs run up on the little winter Dragonsworn camp and Perrin gives them the fucking business. A little weird that he fights with the wolves, but I get hyped up when Robert Jordan does a battle scene without magic. Young Bull, Perrin’s alter ego, is a legend of the fight game. He just runs around barefoot chopping trollocs and fades with a giant fucking ax. His fight with the fade is dope, Perrin is an awesome undisciplined brawler. You know who is a wack fighter? You guessed it! RAND. When Perrin goes to find him Rand is crying about how he did nothing. Good job bro. Pathetic.

So post battle your boy Perrin, Lan, Loial and Moraine start following Rand. They roll up to this village, where everyone is busy fucking because Rand came through and basically started up a giant orgy. Not exactly true, as these people were getting married first, but what is marriage but an excuse? Some would say Rand shares many tendencies with Lucifer himself. This innkeeper asks Moraine to heal his brother, but when she and Perrin go to see the brother, they can’t do anything as the brother has basically become a wolf. This chapter shows the depth of Moraine’s character. It is so easy to see her as uncaring and cold, but in actuality the way she talks to Perrin and shows sympathy just makes her continuously more likeable.

On to the White Tower. The hero of our tale is unfortunately incapacitated at the start of this book, he has come down with a case of evil magic sickness. So Verin, Egwene, Nynaeve, Elayne, and Hurin the crime watchdog sniffing out crime from Tear to the Two Rivers get accosted by these White Cloak goons while trying to get Mat to the White Tower. I lovvvvve this part of the book because I find it so funny. This scene reminds me of like getting mugged by people with knives, when all of you are holding guns. Verin is diplomatically trying to get shit done while Egwene the whole time is getting more and more impatient until finally she pulls out the uzi and starts blasting those clowns with the one power. Elayne and Nynaeve are so relieved to not have to listen to Verin’s terrible attempts at diplomacy and start popping off as well. They absolutely body the White Cloaks in like three seconds. Then as Verin is trying to discipline them, she is just resigned to the fact that it worked. OOOOO WELL.

When they finally get to Tar Valon, we are treated with an Amyrlin Seat chapter. Of course this means stupid fisherman expressions but looking past that I enjoy Siuan as a POV. My time with the audiobook ended with rain blasting me at about mile 5 yesterday, so until next week that is all.

Final Notes: God damn it Cam.