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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 True Bastards Wrap-up: A ride on the hog side

That is an egregious offense to the subtitle gods but in some odd way I am proud of it. Coming in hot with another review is the next book in a series that is slowly creeping its way to the upper echelons of my heart. The True Bastards by Jonathan French is the second book of The Lot Lands series. It takes what made the first book such an interesting and fun read and improves upon it. The plot is much more expansive and original. Don’t just take my written word for it though, also listen to me verbally jerk the book off on another edition of the greatest fantasy, nay, the greatest literary podcast of all time: The Swords and Sports podcast featuring yours truly.

Click the link below to be transported to a magical place owned by a fruit (not a gay joke simply an apple joke) and have all your audio fantasies come true.

Click here to start your trans-formative journey

Now that is how you sell a fucking podcast. Where do I begin with this review. I already know this is going to be a clusterfuck but whatever. Jackal is no longer the POV character, instead we get our main homie Fetching. She is attempting to lead The True Bastards in the wake off having the Kiln destroyed by old sludgey but of course life ain’t that fucking easy. First she needs to contend with her own version of black lung, which is essentially that she is coughing up sludge like a frat boy throws up beer the morning after a sick rager. The town of Winsome has zero, nada, zilch food and motherfuckers are hungry. So she has to find out why none of the food is getting there. Turns out a pack of super hyenas controlled by a giant orc shaman are causing terror throughout The Lot Lands. Some frails have started setting up shop in an abandoned lot but none of the other hoofs no what to do. Hispertha is getting real mouthy in their quest to expand the empire. Basically she is going through a Lot. Get it, its because the series is called The Lot Lands. Let me end this monster paragraph.

That is quite the predicament to find oneself in. Fortunately for the lovely half-elf, half-orc super hybrid there is one simple answer. Violence. As the famous Jedi Mind Tricks song Violence begets Violence taught me, it’s that Violence begets Violence so that means madness ensues. We are talking hoof on hoof war, hoof on Tine war, hoof and hoof on magic orc shaman and hyena war, and all types of fun.

This fucking book is awesome. I love, love, love the use of all kinds of mythical races and that they can mix creating all different species that have to make their way in the world. I love that they ride hogs and shoot crossbows like they are a fucking motorcycle gang. I love the interplay between the clashing cultures and factions along The Lot Lands. The world Frenchy Lotana builds is absolutely brilliant. The characters are hilarious, believable and have realistic arcs. The curse words are great. The use of the word “cock” is without equal. Basically read this series if you like fun.

This book is literally the definition of chad. Easiest rating ever.

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.

Journey around the Wheel of Time

The Shadow Rising Audiobook Update 6: Two Rivers gang

Having the wherewithal to look back on last weeks edition of the world famous audiobook recap blog series, I noticed that I had the foresight to include The Two Rivers in the subtitle and not talk about, you know, The Two Rivers. That was of course intentional and not at all because I forgot so without further ado lets get into it.

Wherewithal is one of those words that sounds like it is a high brow vocabulary word but I think we all use it too much and now it has lost that effect. This has nothing to do with The Two Rivers or our boy Perrin but I found this important enough to mention.

Perrin is finally in The Two Rivers and he is not having a good time. Him and his assorted fellows all meet at the Winespring Inn where no one is happy to see him. Now I don’t know about you but I hate delivering bad news so I feel for the al’Vere’s when they have to tell Perrin the Whitecloaks murked his whole family. Thats a tough pill to swallow on your homecoming. Equally as bad is that pretty much half the town hates him. That would eat at my insecurity, which makes my choice of throwing my writing out there to the world with a very clear picture of myself an odd choice of hobby.

Because Perrin is a boss he takes it in stride, eventually understanding that life ain’t for the feint of heart and starts to plan his conquering of The Two Rivers. Unlike me, who was openly weeping while running, which sadly is not the first time that has happened along this journey. Essentially what gets him over it is what gets men over pretty much anything, some girl giving him attention.

So in order to take over The Two Rivers he has to go to meet up with the man who birthed our hero, bid daddy Cauthon. That was not the way I wished to write that, but it is out there so here we are. They all head over to the woods and run into, surprise surprise, some Aes Sedai fuckboys. Its ya homie Verin, who is up there on my favorites, and her two warders along with Abel and Tam. A real murders row. I love that Abel is giving Perrin advice on women, it just shows that pimping runs in the Cauthon blood.

Eventually they all decide that it might be best to go free all the people the Whitecloaks have swiped. Which I think I will save for next week, as I am running out of gas on this blog. Happy Friday everyone!

Final Notes: Biggggggg announcement for 2020 coming out soon. Just waiting to finalize some things but I once everything is set up I will let everyone know.

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:

Journey around the Wheel of Time

Eye of the World Audiobook Wrap-up

As the first stop on the journey around The Wheel of Time series has come to it’s conclusion, I thought it would be worth the time to review the audiobook as a whole. As I mentioned in the beginning of this, I had zero prior experience with audiobooks. This desire to start one stemmed from me getting bored as fuck with all the other stuff I was listening too while running, as well as being convinced by Amazon’s Audible marketing campaign. That last part is kind of embarrassing to say, but whatever just being honest. The audiobook has accompanied my marathon training, and since the New York City Marathon is like 17 weeks away, I think that I am going to continue to fly through the series. 

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan is the first book in a 12 part series known as the Wheel of Time, widely considered a classic series in the fantasy genre. If you are a fan of Tolkein, epic fantasy, or high fantasy this is an excellent series. While there are some adult aspects, this is a series that can be enjoyed by readers of any age. Having originally read the series about 5 years ago, my first impression of it was the length was a little excessive, though the payoff is worth it. It is longggggg as hell and because of this, the series has a tendency to meander and get bogged down in a lot of not entertaining chapters. I actually remember getting pretty bored with it at points and not enjoying it as much as some of the other stuff I had read at that point, but after listening to the audiobook I am not sure that this was an entirely fair opinion.

I think it is important to point out that I did listen to this, and as an audiobook it was a lot more interesting. When the book kind of slowed down I was able to just zone out a little and focus on the running. It was easy to follow along with the story while running, but I also remember the general gist of the plot. I would highly recommend listening to an audiobook of some fantasy series you keep promising yourself you are going to re-read knowing full well you are never going to get around to it. Gave me an entirely different perspective of the book

The Eye of the World as a singular story at its core is your run-of-the-mill chosen one tale. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you want something that differs from the norm, this might not be for you. If you look at the characters, creatures and plot, the first book especially is eerily similar to LOTR. Their are Orcs, Ents, chosen one and accompanying friends from his village, an ambiguous evil power, and magic (trolocs, Ogier, Rand and friends, Balzamon and the one power). The differences are what make this a special book.

With a more modern writing style and less focus on the way the trees hit the wind, this book is fantastic. The scope of the world is enormous, it feels like every chapter we are introduced to a new element of magic, abilities and creatures. The plot itself is solid, three villagers are chosen by The Pattern  which is some weird universal power that seeks to balance out the world, to fight the dark one who seeks to finally take over the world. Rand is an absolute loser and as a main character he is annoying as shit, but his storyline is cool enough to make up for it.

The book has the inevitable ending where the good guys win, but because this thing is 12 books long, it sets the scene nicely for the next book. I can’t wait to dive into the Great Hunt. Wow this was almost like a real review. Props to me for being able to write something mature. Fuck Rand. Had to throw in something immature.