Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn)

The Final Empire (Mistborn, Book 1)
by Brandon Sanderson

Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
First Released: 2006

Source: Bought from Amazon

Back Cover Blurb:
The Mists rule the night.
The Lord Ruler owns the world.

For a thousand years, the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years, the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years, the Lord Ruler reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Every attempted revolt has failed miserably.

Yet somehow, hope survives. A new kind of uprising is being planned, one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the courage of an unlikely heroine, a Skaa street urchin, who must learn to master Allomancy, the power of a Mistborn.

This is a "mystery fantasy" where the main characters perceive their world in a certain way, but the more they learn, the more they realize they haven't understood the truth about their world. The world-building in this book is excellent as is the pacing. Despite the thick spine, the prose is remarkably free of filler or repetition and every scene moves the story forward. The characters change realistically throughout the book. The romance in the story develops slowly. There is a kiss at the end, but no sex. I don't recall any modern curse words being used. Overall, I'd recommend this as "a good, clean fun" novel.

Excerpt: Chapter One
Ash fell from the sky.

Vin watched the downy flakes drift through the air. Leisurely. Careless. Free. The puffs of soot fell like black snowflakes, descending upon the dark city of Luthadel. They drifted in corners, blowing in the breeze and curling in tiny whirlwinds over the cobblestones. They seemed so uncaring. What would that be like?

Vin sat quietly in one of the crew’s watch-holes--a hidden alcove built into the bricks on the side of the safe house. From within it, a crewmember could watch the street for signs of danger. Vin wasn’t on duty; the watch-hole was simply one of the few places where she could find solitude.

And Vin liked solitude. When you’re alone, no one can betray you. Reen’s words. Her brother had taught her so many things, then had reinforced them by doing what he’d always promised he would--by betraying her himself. It’s the only way you’ll learn. Anyone will betray you, Vin. Anyone.

The ash continued to fall. Sometimes, Vin imagined she was like the ash, or the wind, or the mist itself. A thing without thought, capable of simply being, not thinking, caring, or hurting. Then she could be . . . free.

She heard shuffling a short distance away, then the trapdoor at the back of the small chamber snapped open.

"Vin!" Ulef said, sticking his head into the room. "There you are! Camon’s been searching for you for a half hour."

That’s kind of why I hid in the first place.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Review Guidelines

On Genre Reviews, I mainly review novels for adults, young adults, and middle grade in the following genre: fantasy, science fiction, mystery, thrillers, romantic suspense, and historical romance. (I also have a nonfiction book blog and a Christian nonfiction book blog. Review guidelines for them are on those blogs.)

If you wish, feel free to run the back cover blurb by me first (in the body of the e-mail me (GenreReviewsDTDP (at) gmail (dot) com)) to see if I'm interested in reviewing a book. I'm sorry, but I no longer review self-published novels. I receive so many book review requests that there's no way I can read even a fraction of them, and it's rare that I've found a self-published novel that I'm interested in reviewing.

I review all books that I request. I post all of my book reviews here, on Amazon, and on Goodreads. I also Twitter about them as I read them.

Please note, I'm under no obligation to review any books sent that I haven't requested. I'm also under no obligation to give the book a good review.

I'm not getting paid for this and have limited time, so I have to draw the line somewhere. I enjoy the following genre, but I'll also warn you what types of books I'm less interested in and therefore less likely to review or give good reviews to:

In fantasy, I like traditional or heroic fantasy. I'm less interested in fantasy set in modern day (unless it's alternate history). I'm also generally not interested in books with witchcraft though I'm okay with "magic." [I know, it sounds like a stupid preference, but witchcraft is real (though novels rarely portray witchcraft correctly) while magic isn't.] See the romance section if the novel contains a romance or is a paranormal romance.

In science fiction, I generally prefer books that don't have aliens in them. I'm more interested in human conflicts. See the romance section if the novel contains a romance.

In mystery, I prefer the main character to be clever and focused on solving the mystery. I've read mysteries where the main character simply stumbles across all the needed clues while focused on doing something else, and I'm really not interested in that type of story.

In suspense or thrillers, read the romance section if there is a romance involved.

In romance, I'm a hard sell. Read the "don't send me" list carefully. I'm more interested in a historical romance than a modern romance, but I will read either. I don't want the focus of the woman's life to be "I must have that handsome hunk." The woman doesn't have to be kick-ass, but I don't like authors who make their smart women suddenly act like an imbecile ("Gee, I know he's trying to kill me, but maybe I should walk right up to him so he can grab me" sort of stupid) just so the hero can come save the day.

Since paranormal romances are popular, I'll state that I don't find it appealing when vampires, werewolves, zombies, demons, or other traditionally evil beings are portrayed as good. If they are evil, then I'm okay with it. If all of their kind but them are evil, then I'm willing to consider it. If they're what traditional fantasy once called shape-shifters, then I don't care if they're good or evil.

In horror, western, women's fiction, or other unlisted genre, I'm probably not interested in reviewing them on this blog, so please don't send them without checking with me first.

I have some rather strong personal preferences. I'm not interested in reading books that contain explicit sexual material (a body-part by body-part description of sex). I also don't like reading novels where people have sex at the drop of a hat and there are no consequences (STDs, pregnancy risks; emotional trauma) to doing so afterward. If there are realistic consequences, then I'm fine with it.

I also don't like books where there is a lot of cussing or swearing. Books that use "he swore" or only have a few cuss words in the entire book are okay. However, I'm not interested in reading a book with one or more cuss words on every page.

When I'm done reading a review copy sent to me by a publisher, author, or publicist, I either run a giveaway for it on my blog or donate it to my local jail or a state prison. I'm involved in prison ministry, and the inmates really look forward to these books.