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The Goblin Emperor Wrap-up: Insecurity and exploding blimps

Now that is a god damn subtitle. Here we have another book stop along my epic journey to read 52 fantasy books in 52 weeks, while creating 52 podcasts on them. It also happens that I am writing 52 book review blogs but that just makes the tagline way too clunky. If you are interested in the greatest fantasy book/sports hybrid podcast that is about a 90/10 blend boy are you in luck. I have for you a link to the Swords and Sports podcast. This week I have a guest, Viviana, and we break down all the minute intricacies of the lovely Katherine Addisons writing. Just kidding we go through a bunch of stuff we liked and made us laugh. We do fantasy news, we talk about not talking about sports, and other stuff. Give it a listen unless you hate children. Now you have too

Click here to have unicorns come back to life and replace automobiles, hence saving the planet from reduced carbon emissions. It really is just a link to the podcast.

The Goblin Emperor is in all ways a fantastic read. But if sword fights, final charges, and bloodshed are the things that get you off, this might not be the read for you. If you like the inner workings of an insecure teen who deffffff would listen to Billie Ellish try and run an Elven kingdom despite pushback from every single facet of a congested, clogged, inefficient government then this is perfect.

Maia is a little half-bred weirdo whose dad and older brothers get murked in a blimp accident, essentially making him the only one left to rule the kingdom. But since Maia has only talked to like 10 people in the last 15 years, he is super insecure and not at all equipped to handle running this giant elven conglomerate. Fortunately he has a dude named Csvet who basically does everything so the kingdom doesn’t collapse. At two points people try and steal his throne in very half-hearted or half-brained attempts. There are also some terrorists who are starting to build momentum through an ideology that basically says they are tired of getting fucked over.

If that didn’t sell you, Maia is obsessed with building a bridge and trying to fuck an opera singer. He does one and not the other. That is called not spoiling things. I am getting better at this clearly.

Overall I know I didn’t hard sell this thing, but I don’t need too. It won or was nominated for all the awards that mean my review doesn’t mean shit. And guess what, it deserved all the awards, the writing is fantastic, the plot is different from the standard hero reluctantly saves the world/kingdom/friends/self by learning to overcome their insecurity and utilize magic/brains/brawn trope that is a lot of fantasy. There is not a lot of action, but in this case that is a strong point. World building is fantastic, dialogue is great, Maia is the perfect amount of bitch and brains. Not a chad book by any means but that is certainly not the books intent. Read it, listen to my fucking podcast or I will give myself Corona, and have a lovely weekend!!!!!

Book Reviews

The Thief Who Spat in Luck’s Good Eye Wrap-up: Spitting greatness

For this weeks book review I decided to take on the second book in the Amra Thethys series, The Thief Who Spat in Luck’s Good Eye. Ol’ Mikey McClung continues where the first book left off, with a budding tale of everlasting friendship between the moral thief Amra and her trusted mage man Holgren. If you want to hear the sounds of me and the lovely Nathalie serenade your senses with a lovely podcast and recap of our adventure with Amra Thethys #2, please indulge me and click the link below. I promise you will be mildly disappointed, like when you get fries from Burger King (no free ads) and do not get a sneak onion ring

Click here to listen to the Swords and Sports podcast. Michael McClung, the author, thought our first podcast on book one was pretty good, so give that a fucking listen as well so I can quit my day job.

In book two we go bigggggg picture. Holgren needs to become immortal, since he stupidly sold his soul or something so he is def going to hell if he dies. Fortunately the Duke of Viborg has issued a decree saying anyone who brings proof of some destroyed city gets a billion dollars, mostly because there is something there that will make him immortal. Holgren and Amra pack up the ol’ gear and get to treasure hunting.

But naturally Holgren gets marked two seconds into the book, and Amra has to deal with some gods and the aforementioned Duke. She handles her shit but finds out the Shadow King is finna take over the world. She really doesn’t care but she put on a necklace that is making her head there.

I know I am rambling on but once again Mikey Mc Clungggger does a great job of fitting a million things into a concise 200 pages. He seems to be great at the short adventure books. Listen, Amra and Holgren are a great duo, they do start fucking in this book which was weird but besides that it is a worthy edition. I really lost momentum on this review. That will make more sense come Monday. Book is almost full chad, so there ya go I didn’t skip out on that.

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The Thousandfold Thought Wrap-up: Sometimes a thousand thoughts are too many

The Thousandfold Thought was fortunately conveyed to the reader in much less than 1,000 pages. I feel like I should be able to do a lot with the title of this book but it doesn’t seem to be flowing well. You know what did flow well? My actual spoken words recapping the book. That sentence have your attention, fortunately I can satisfy your undying curiosity with a simple link to the worlds greatest fantasy and sports fusion podcast, The Swords and Sports podcast. Give it a listen and your life will change. Whether for better or worse is really a coin flip.

Click here to finally achieve you dream of witnessing the perfect blend you never thought would work, yet shockingly does.

Shameless promotion over. Lets talk about the conclusion to the Prince of Nothing Trilogy. The more I have engaged with Mr. R. Scotty 2 Hotty Bakkers dozen work, the more I have come to appreciate just how masterful this series is. Credit to me for that nickname, not clunky or illogical at all.

The Thousandfold Thought is simply a great book and is the perfect way to end a series. My initial reaction to the first book was almost reluctance to continue the series, it seemed like a lot of clunky writing that bit off a little more then it could chew while not taking advantage of the things that made some of the parts excellent. Mainly not getting bogged down in super boring ass characters with no action. The second book was a complete shift, it seemed obvious to me that Bakker had grown significantly as a writer, the confidence he exuded in making the scope of the story significantly grander showed a level of ambition that would take a mad genius to wrap up in three books. Yet the third book built off a successful bridge gap book. I normally think those second books are the hardest, you achieve some level of success with the first book, but you have to expand the story in some way so I find authors normally go too large and lose sight of the elements the make the first book great. This did not happen with the second, in fact it is so much better crafted.

The third book in this series sees the conclusion of the holy war, which seemed really important in the second book, but now has almost become a side show to the ambitions and goals of the main characters. The confrontation promised to us in the first chapter of the series, Kellhus and Moehungus, does not disappoint. I know thats not how you spell his dad’s name but I can’t get it out of my head because it is funny to sound out. That confrontation though made the whole series so worth it. I have said many times that nothing gets me hyped like a great 1-on-1 sword fight, but I have to say a confrontation between two masters of manipulation was in its own way just as engrossing. The culmination of two separate peoples collection of power being nothing more then a bargaining chip in who will walk out of a cave alive was just such a brilliant way to end it. If they had simply just fought using the magic they had learned or their martial abilities it would not have been as potent as what actually happened. The twist with Cnauir at the end also was crazy, I had a feeling it was something like that, but it made his whole character arc make so much more sense.

The actual conclusion of the Holy War with the Men of the Tusk securing miraculous victory that unfolded exactly how Kellhus planned it, seemed almost anti-climactic compared to the other stuff. This was clearly intentional, and Bakker building up the war to seem so important only have it become a power play move was brilliant. This book is great, honestly a long and not easy read of a series but a must read for anyone who appreciates a more complicated fantasy story that subverts a lot of the simple tropes that stop good fantasy from becoming great. Just get past the first one.

Obviously chad.

Book Reviews

Iron and Magic Wrap-up: Ironically a magical surprise

There really is no irony there but you can’t be serve a word like “iron” to me and not expect me to make some terrible joke. The book is written by the dream team of Gordon and Illona under the pseudo name Ilona Andrews. They seem to have had a decent amount of success, I mean they are a New York Times Bestselling Author(s?) so they got that going for them. When I picked this book for the podcast, my intention was to pick this super sappy fantasy romance novel as the guest for this book is my sister and I figured I would just trash how corny is was the whole time and get that CONTENT popping off but that was not what happened.

Speaking of the podcast, did you bring that up or did I? Regardless, on this weeks episode I have special guest Jenna. We go over Iron and Magic, read uncomfortable love-making scenes, quickly fly through the sports, do a social media glow-up for the author(s) amongst other wonderful hijinks. Click here and your wish for everlasting life will not come true, but you will get to be entertained for a while maybe.

Iron and Magic is the first book in the Iron Covenant series, and while I think the characters in the book feature in the Kate Daniels series, I really don’t know nor intend to find out. If I had to break the story down, it goes a little like this. This man hunk super guy with magic powers was once the warlord of this demi-god named Roland until he got himself excommunicated for trying to fuck the guys daughter or something. This is not the boring ass gunslinger Roland from The Miserable Tower but a different guy who is trying to take over the world by equal parts violence and buying real estate.

Roland wants to kill Hugh, and Hugh wants to drink himself to death, but his former elite fighting force called the Iron Dogs don’t want to be killed by Roland so they convince Hugh to live a little bit. They eventually come up with this plan to get hired as glorified body guards by this chick Elara who is the head witch of this hybrid magic coven/grow-op. Elara and her gang of lawyer warlocks is getting pressured by this dude Nez, a vampire controller and prospective real estate agent to sell their land, and they don’t want to.

So instead of just forming an alliance, Hugh and Elara decide to get married. This provides the real romantic love story, as the two immediately despise each other, despite wanting to bang. Through the power of team work and overcoming adversity, they eventually do bang. Their will they, wont they thing coupled with the witty zingers they sling at each other is reminiscent of a rom-com. In all honesty it is pretty funny.

This eventually works out to a final battle where they emerge victorious. Throughout the book though, there is an interesting magic system where their are seemingly random intervals where either magic or technology works. So we get this kind of post-apocalyptic world that has guns, cars, and electricity but since that stuff only works half the time, they also need to use swords and magic. I actually found this a really enjoyable way to get the medieval fantasy aspect to mesh with modern technology. Also a solid plot device to be able to switch from magic to technology or vice-versa when it served the story. There are also a billion magical creatures, mostly vampires that are controlled remotely like attack drones. A three headed elephant-god shows up as well.

The real question on everyone’s minds at this juncture is the rating. Is this book chad? I mean Hugh is the textbook definition of a Chad on the outside, but is actually a little soft bitch on the inside. Elara is pretty whiny and uses the word “uh” a lot like a white girl that can’t even. So I am going to leave this right in the middle.

Book Reviews

Warrior of the Altaii Wrap-up: Jordan from the grave

I would like for you all to play this whilst reading this blog. This is one of my all time subtitles, and after the terrible atrocity that was my subtitle for The True Bastards, it is an honor to have such a tremendous comeback. Never count me out. You can count out Robert Jordan though, because he is dead. Sorry Robert. If you were still alive I would love to tell you how much your books have meant to me. I give a little bit of sour all the time, but sometimes I come with the sweet.

You know what would mean a lot to me, if you lovely and not lovely readers of the greatest fantasy and sports hybrid blog gave the greatest fantasy and sports hybrid podcast a listen. In this weeks episode we go over Warrior of the Altaii, the posthumous work of fantasy legend Robert Jordan. We also go over some other funny shit.

Click the link here to get an instant audio erection. If you don’t get that joke, this is a link to the podcast not to Blue Chew, though I know the lovely folks over at Blue Chew are longtime silent fans, so maybe come through with a sponsorship?

Three paragraphs and shameless self promotion later, it is time to get into the book. Apparently this book was written before Jordan exploded onto the scene, in fact it is the first book he ever wrote, and one of the more interesting things I found about the book is how he clearly has the idea for the WoT already in his head, as there are many elements in Warrior of the Altaii that are expanded upon in the WoT. So for WoT fans I would call this a must read, for everyone else it is simply an average fantasy book.

The story goes like this, the Altaii are a nomadic barbaric people that live on the Plain, and their primary purpose in life seems to be raiding caravans and selling slaves and stolen goods. The Plain is drying up, and the city of Lanta is plotting to expand their city state into an empire, but the Altaii are in the way since they just keep wrecking all the trade. Both of these things are making life a pain in the fucking ass for the Altaii, buttttt fortunately we got ourselves a hero named Wulfgar (all time badass name). The Altaii go into the city and meet these two queens, which sit upon the Twin Thrones. The queens are hellbent on killing Wulfgar and the Altaii, but they fail miserably and Wulfgar takes their city and destroys their army, essentially installing himself as the new emperor.

Along the way we have some interesting tidbits that show us where Jordan’s head was at. First and foremost is Jordan’s love of having female characters strip and talk about their bodies. I have written in past WoT audiobook recaps that Jordan is obsessed with tits, and already in his first ever book the Sisters of Wisdom, who are the magic users in this book and an obvious foreshadowing of Aes Sedai, having to get naked and paint on themselves before they do any magic. One of the queens is also naked quite a bit, and there are bath girls that only seem to serve the purpose of bathing characters and looking hot. Another theme that continues in the WoT is that women have all the magical and political power. I was going to say they have rights as well, buttttttttt they are constantly getting either raped, prostituted or enslaved so it seems like there is a trade off. This would now be considered slightly problematic and would need to have some character addressing the immorality of it in order to appease the readers if it was written today. The Altaii are the obvious an early prototype of the Aiel, with all their focus on rituals and proper protocol and traditions and their warrior culture. And and and.

With all that being said, since it is such a quick read and me being an avid WoT fan this book was enjoyable. Not the greatest thing I ever read, but still leaning Chad on this. Not a fully torqued Monster and Blue Chew Chad but a Dubstep in your Jeep Wrangler one.

Book Reviews

The Poppy War Wrap-up: Popping off

As another week passes by, it is time for yet another book review. This time I would like to present The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. Before I go too far into the weeds, I think it is once again worth mentioning that if the written word is not enough for you, feel free to listen to the SwordsandSports podcast. You can find that shit on iTunes, and maybe one day when I get around to it you can find it on Google Play. This week I recap the super bowl, I beg for money because I lost it all, and make other hilarious comments on the book. 52 books, 52 weeks, 52 podcasts. Join the movement now or die a horrible death.

You can find a link to the podcast here.

Alright another unsuccessful promo done so we can move on. I got to be honest about The Poppy War for real, for real. To me this seemed like a story you have read at least 14 times in your life, except the characters and culture is all Asian. I know this is both controversial and brave of me to say. Let me break it down for you clowns out there who are ready to throw me into the fire. The book is essentially two parts.

Part one is your classic orphan goes to school and learns magic tale. I am going to use no gender pronouns here, not to be progressive but to prove a point. It starts out with this kid, the kid is naturally an orphan. The way out of a tough living situation is to get accepted into this special school. The only way to do this is to be super smart. Of course the main character is beyond smart so the kid gets accepted to the school. The school is male dominated, but there are some women. The school is run by Masters, each Master has a specific subject that they teach. But there is a Master that is loopy, wacky, disheveled and frankly childish and immature. Most of the other professors think he is cracked, but of course he is the Master of magic. The main character has a rival, this rival is super wealthy and the son of an important lord. Their antics trying to one-up each other provide a lot of the filler. Eventually the main character has to choose her track. The main character begrudgingly earns the respect of the wacky Master and does a bunch of things that don’t really seem to have a point, but are actually teaching The main character magic. The hunger for more power eventually leads to a schism, as the Master doesn’t think this power should be used for violence.

Is part one The Name of the Wind? Nope. In this book replace Kvothe with Rin, Master Elodin with Jiang, and Ambrose with Nezha. Make everyone Asian and we have ourselves an award winning debut novel. Part 2 on the other hand, is where things take a turn.

At some point in the book, we replace the quaint orphan goes to school tale with an X-men in a fantasy world witnessing and causing massacres story. A littttttle bit different. The second part goes way off the rails, and frankly it is refreshing. Eventually Rin joins this crack team of a magic using military branch and causes absolute fucking mayhem. Not to spoil everything but the kind of amoral heel turn Rin takes is awesome. The second half is a little crazy and disjointed but a ton of fun.

So ends another dope ass review. This book teeters the line between virgin and chad so I place it firmly in the middle. On the one side, orphan goes to school and learns magic is one of my favorite kinds of stories but is def a virg move. On the other hand mass murder is very chad. The two balance each other out, the perfect yin to yang ratio.

Book Reviews

The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids Wrap-up:

I hope people like book review’s because if you are at all following this blog there are going to be 52 of them this year. With that being said it is time for the next iteration of the most famous, popular, controversial book review blog series. In my shameless self promotion you can hear my pontificate on the finer intricacies of the Lucernis underworld with a brand new guest on this weeks edition of the Swords and Sports podcast. Now available on the Itunes podcast app so you are running out of excuses not to give it a listen.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-swords-and-sports-podcast/id1496413079

On this weeks episode we discuss the absolutely enjoyable book, our favorite curse words from the book, the mechanical spider thing from Toy Story, a farewell to my sweet prince Eli Manning and a whole bunch of wildly entertaining shit that is sure to fill you with wondrous joy and have you running to your friends at the park asking if they listened yet.

Now that is a fucking podcast promotion. I think. Let’s get into the book. The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids is a pretty short book but for only being 200 pages it seems to fit a lot of shit into those pages. Not shit like its garbage, reading that back I can see it being misleading. But ya boy Michael McClung self-published this book in 2012 and won the SPFBO, another award I refuse to look further into, so it definitely has a little notoriety behind it. And it is well deserved.

The story follows Amra, your take-no-shit female thief who finds a way to make the thieving life seem, if not glamorous, at least not grimy. Her homie Corbin comes over one night and asks her to hold this gold frog for him because he has to go collect payment for a score that he never got paid for. Well turns out he is never getting paid because he gets sliced up that night. Amra vows to get some revenge, and from there we get a classic revenge, murder mystery that really turns into Amra being the person responsible with stopping a legendary demi-god assassin.

It takes a few wild turns, at one point a mages body explodes or something and he winds up putting his head on a mechanical spider. That is pretty cool. There is also a giant dog named Bone who has like 9 concussions but still manages to be a good boy. There is a temple where all the acolytes mouths are sewed shut and their god speaks through them, reminiscent of some movie that I forget. There is a cranky librarian who fires off insults like a cast member of Wild’n’Out. Did I sell it yet?

In truth the brevity of the story is actually a huge positive. With little room for fluff, it sticks to the parts that work well and is an adventure that doesn’t feel forced. Being the most sincere two sentences in the entire blog, I will follow it up with the award winning chad/virgin scale which has received critical acclaim by nobody. This book is almost chad, any time a demi-god assassin who freezes himself in time tries to kill himself because he is cursed from killing a god, you are on to something. And that guy is only on like 4 pages. With about 6 more books left in this series, we will be getting a little more of Amra on the blog this year.