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So, it’s been a long journey, and I’m still not done with the series yet. But I’m very excited for the release of A Memory of Light, the last book in a series that has taken about the entire length of my life to write. The books are amazing, addicting, and the plot is intricately written, the characters are brilliantly done. However, this isn’t a review. Dwayne and I both squealed when we heard the release date for this book – next January. They are releasing the book  in the last month of the year of the dragon – nothing more fitting, in my opinion. I have a blog written by Brandon Sanderson, the author to share with you. Here’s the post, from his author’s page on goodreads:

 

I finished the final revision on A Memory of Light early in the morning Saturday, then sent it off to Team Jordan. And I was done. Team Jordan will handle the copyedits and proofreads; I might have a chime-in now and then on how a passage should be tweaked or how a continuity issue should be addressed, but essentially, my involvement as a writer in the Wheel of Time has come to an end.

 

 

Now, that doesn’t mean my involvement with Wheel of Time fandom is over. I’ll have my appearance at Dragon*Con this year, as well as the tour in January for A Memory of Light. Beyond that, I intend to frequently attend JordanCon and be available to WoT fans for years, even decades, to come. I intend to talk a great deal about the experience of writing these books, perhaps even post some blog entries about the subject.

 

 

But the writing is done. I’m still a little in shock about that.

 

 

Just about five years ago, I got that fateful call from Harriet. Since that time, I have always had a Wheel of Time book that I needed to be working on. Occasionally I would take breaks, as I did to write The Alloy of Law a couple years ago. However, the knowledge that I soon needed to be back to work on the Wheel of Time was always there.

 

 

That work has been my constant companion. For reference, when I got that call, I had only released a couple of books: the second Mistborn novel had come out the month before. I had written others that were awaiting publication—including several Alcatraz books, the last Mistborn book, and Warbreaker. I also had a draft done of The Way of Kings, another done of The Rithmatist, and some preliminary work done on a book called Steelheart.

 

 

Yes, I’d written a lot. I still had only a handful of books out in stores. It had been two years since Elantris was released. I was brand new at this.

 

 

I still feel brand new. Yet, oddly, I also feel weathered. Finishing the Wheel of Time has been a wonderful experience, but it has also been grueling. I have always respected Robert Jordan, but now I respect him even more—and for a multitude of reasons. One of those is the fact that during most of his career, he was able to release a Wheel of Time book every year or two. That’s an awesome amount of work. Doing three books has worn me out.

 

 

For five years, whatever I’ve been doing—whether it be going out to dinner, sitting down to write, or checking my email—I’ve known that there was more to do on the Wheel of Time. I’ve known that I gave my word to Harriet and to the fans that I would work hard to get those books out quickly, and I carried a weight of responsibility for the book being split and people being forced to wait years beyond when they expected to get the ending. For five years, I have worked long hours because of those reasons. All the time I could find, I dedicated to the Wheel of Time in one way or another.

 

 

And then, today, I did not have a Wheel of Time book to work on.

 

 

I’ve reached the end of the journey and set down my burdens. It’s wonderful, relaxing, and solemn all at once. I love the Wheel of Time. It’s also great to be done.

 

 

And so, today, I officially take a step toward a line. I step away from being pilot of this series, and toward once again being just a fan. I will never cross back over that line—whatever else happens, I will have written three books in this series. I will continue to support and engage with Wheel of Time fandom. However, an ending has arrived for me, and it is time for my attention to be turned elsewhere.

 

 

Now I stroll back into my workshop and find that a little bit of dust has gathered. Out of necessity, the Stormlight Archive has been neglected. I am pleased I made the choice to work on A Memory of Light instead of Stormlight 2. However, it is time to pick up that story again and make this series all of the awesome things I’ve dreamed of it being for some twenty years.

 

 

The stories of Mat, Rand, Egwene, and Perrin are now done. Returning to the stories of Kaladin, Shallan, Jasnah, and Dalinar will be my next major project. You’ll also see me doing revisions on both The Rithmatist and Steelheart this fall—as I’ve made arrangements for both to be published next year or the year after. You’ll probably hear more about them in the days to come. And yes, I WILL be doing a sequel to The Alloy of Law.

 

 

It has been an incredible experience finishing the Wheel of Time. I hope that some of you who were with me on that journey will join me for the Stormlight books, but I want to note that I don’t automatically assume that if someone reads the Wheel of Time they will read my other work. I occasionally have someone come through one of my signing lines who feels guilty for “only” having a Wheel of Time book. There is no need to feel guilty for this; I love the Wheel of Time as you do, and we share that. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed some of my writing, and I feel as close to those books as I do to any I’ve written. Yes, the Wheel of Time is not mine. But those three books are mine. I love them just as much as any I’ve worked on.

 

 

I look forward to continuing to meet many of you at conventions and signings as the years move forward. Thank you, Wheel of Time fandom, for accepting me in and putting up with my mistakes. (There have been many.) Thank you, Brandon Sanderson fandom, for putting up with my deviations in the Wheel of Time universe. I know it has slowed down you getting your books, but this was something very important for me to do.

 

 

Robert Jordan was a great man, and was the single greatest influence on my development as a writer. What I have done these last five years has been an attempt—a sometimes flawed but always earnest attempt—to show my appreciation. This entire genre owes him an enormous debt. My debt to him, and to Harriet, is greatest of all.

 

 

Mr. Jordan, may you rest in the Light. Everyone else, take a breath and get ready for the end. May you find his final words as satisfying to read as I did when I first picked them up five years ago. The very last scene is his, touched very little by me, as are significant chunks of the ending at large. I have achieved my goal in writing the books so that they pointed toward this ending he wrote, allowing us to include his words with as little alteration as possible.

 

 

Once again, thank you. May you always find water and shade.

 

Brandon Sanderson

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After being so frustrated with this book as I covered in my “Vocabulary” post, this book actually turned out to be a good read. In my review, I will simply write about the main character as either “the main character” or “the protagonist” due to the story being about discovering the identity of the character.

My main issues with this book are the ungodly long beginning, and the over-zealous use of ridiculous vocabulary.

I understand that it takes time to set up the background of a book well enough to start the plot rolling, but it should not take 120 pages to do so. I do not jest, or exaggerate. There is 120 pages of plotless background. Except for the fact that there isn’t much background, because the main character is a mutilated mute who has amnesia in a foreign environment. The main character has no backstory to tell, simply because their identity is unknown. There are no bonds with other people to explore, because the protagonist does not know anybody in the castle. Also lacking are the forming of bonds with other characters, because of the protagonist’s scarred face and inability to communicate. There are minor skirmishes, where the protagonist falls out of favor with one of the tower’s lords and gets a whipping for it, but nothing that overall affects the plot. The character does some minor exploring of the unfamiliar surroundings, but not anything that is worth mention or noting. Again, this part of the story has almost no effect on the plot. By my check, the first point where things begin to move is page 114, but nothing actually happens until page 125. If you can suffer through this insanely long, drawn-out beginning, the book is well worth the read. The plot flows quickly and smoothly, always entertaining.

My other point of contention is the vocabulary. Usually I find more advanced vocabulary refreshing and adding to the story, but in this book it was too complex, and over-used. Rather than recognizing the medieval word for a very specific type of pot used in a kitchen for making porridge, and losing myself in the scenery, I had to look up the word, discover it was a pot, and go back to reading, wondering why it wasn’t simply labelled as a pot or saucepan. There were also some very specific plants (commonly used in the middle ages; not commonly known nowadays) that left me wondering. She used about a dozen different words for ‘food’ that I was unfamiliar with, and could have sufficed with one or two rather than using a different word every time. There were the technical names for medieval/renaissance-age garments, from the proper name for the inner and outer petticoats, to what the pont on their hoods (taltries) are called. There were even words I could not find the definition for online. I tried google, wikipedia, dictionary.com, and many other search engines and could not find anything about the word at all but a suggestion that maybe I had spelled another word wrong. All in all, I love the use of more advanced vocabulary when it lends to a book, but there is a point where it hinders the writing rather than helps it. This book jumped well over that point, with both feet, and kept sprinting.

I loved finding out more about the protagonist as the story wore on. It’s a very unique idea, having to discover the identity of the character, rather than knowing the character from the beginning. I very much enjoyed this book, and will recommend it to you to read, given that you are patient and stubborn (and maybe have another short book to read before you reach page 120), and don’t mind checking the dictionary every 15 pages.

I finally figured out how to make the booklist in the format I wanted it in! Unfortunately, this means I found out how to do so at the expense of my booklist. 😦 I opened my booklist while viewing the booklist Freak0Nature sent me… And Microsoft automatically put it in a compatability mode to make sure the two documents had the same features available in Word. This meant that my list was reconfigured, and the information was scrambled. I literally had hundreds of books, so I can’t just rewrite it from memory. I’ve got some series that have 1 book instead of 6, or that have 20+ books instead of 4. I’m going to have to start from scratch, because unfortunately, I can’t simply turn off compatibility mode; it’s a conversion to the document that I don’t know how to undo. I’ve also been playing with the idea of including what I have on my bookshelves and color-marking them as read or unread, then as I write reviews for them, make them links. Sounds like a lot of work, but it would be absolutely great in my opinion… If only there was a site to do this for me!

Well, there kind of is. For those of you who haven’t discovered it yet, Goodreads.com has thousands of books on file, and you can put them on ‘shelves’ to keep track of them, and write reviews. Unfortunately, you can’t group things by series in shelves without going in and manually rearranging them, and you also cannot generate lists of shelves as plain text. Both would be fantastic features, IMHO. Another great feature I’d love to see them add is a way to Auto-arrange the books. By genre (and wouldn’t it be great if they added genres to the books instead of letting users tag the books as whatever genre they please?), alphabetically by author, alphabetically by series, however! But alas, they do not. So I am stuck with struggling through making a book list myself. 😦 And I just messed it up. I’m still open for ideas for books if you would like to share! Chances are though, I have it on my list already. 🙂

I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. I expected way more romance, mindless female-worshipping, sickly obsessions, (not so) dreamy male antagonists, and a brainless flirt of of a woman for a protagonist. Oh, and not to mention I’m aware that most ‘romance’ novels are like porn in book form for women. Instead, this is an awesome story about a woman named Natiya who is incubating a dragon egg to try to get revenge on the evil emperor, Dag Racho, since he killed her entire family. With that being said, it still sounds like a really mediocre book. But the back cover really intrigued me. It reads:

One Protector

When dragon power flows through your veins, when dragon thoughts burn in your mind, you can accomplish anything. Natiya knows, for she carries one of the last egs in the land disguised as a jewel in her navel. Day by day the Unhatched grows, and when at last it births they will be joined in a sacred and eternal bond. Gone will be the barmaid forced to dance for pennies; born will be Dag Natiya, revered Queen. Taker her body or her soul; nothing will stop them.

One Slayer

When dragon power flows through your veins, when dragon emotions trample your soul, you become a monster. So knows Kiril, for one destroyed his cousin. No matter how kind or joyful, all beings must succumb to the power of the wyrm. That is why Kiril vowed to destroy dragonkind – and he has almost succeeded. Only one egg remains. But there is an obstacle he did not foresee: love.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, as this states, Natiya and Kiril fall in love. The only obstacle is she is incubating a dragon egg, and he is the emperor’s prized dragon killer. Rather than the both of them being lovesick fools who fall into each other’s arms the entire time and do nothing but shag and the plot magically unfolds itself, there is a race with time before the egg hatches, and before they are caught by Dag Racho and killed.

I found the plot to be highly captivating, and the characters to be well fleshed out and interactions between them were well thought out and in sync with their emotions, back stories, and personalities. The only part I am mildly annoyed with is the overt lust and the (few) sex scenes in the book. I enjoyed that the focus was not on the romance, but I’m still not sure I like any romance in my books at all. I mean, sure the plot twist of them falling in love is great and all, but does Kiril really have to be fondling her every chance he gets? Natiya is portrayed as an intelligent but hard up woman, who has a stash of books underneath her bed, and spurns every man who tries to flirt with her. Now here comes Kiril and she’s squirming up against him. In my honest opinion, this was a great book until the lust and sex came into it. I skimmed through those parts. I think it would have been better as a love story, not a smut story in other words.

Still, the book was good. One of my favorite parts was the interaction between the dragon and the person incubating it, and the time and effort that went into creating and describing the bond that they share. The bond the dragonborn share is my absolute favorite part of the book.

I am both slightly appalled that I enjoyed a romance, and proud of myself for giving it a chance. I’m not sure it’s a whole new genre I want to jump into, but hey, it was a good read (and it only took me 2 days to finish!)

I actually bought this book accidentally when looking for The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. After realizing my mistake, I was keen on returning it for the book I wanted. However, having a new book in my hands, I had to read it. And you know what? I’m glad I did.

Being on the opposite side of the spectrum of the book I was looking for, The God Theory by Bernard Haisch is a legitimate scientific theory on the existence of a ‘God’, or as he terms it, ‘an infinite conscious intelligence’. However, this book is not a bible-thumping, age-old argument spouting, narrow-minded piece of work spouted by an evangelist. This book was written by an astrophysicist, who does not believe in mass religion, and one who took the time to write a theory on how  ‘God’ could exist without breaking any scientific evidence.

With that being said, I want to remind you that this is a legitimate scientific theory. This is not a book for light reading, or a novel to take you away on the wings of creativity. This is a scientific essay. The arguments provided are well-founded, and based in research. A lot of these went well over my head, even after doing hours of research to gain the back knowledge needed to read this book. All in all, I spent more time researching previous work, theories, research, events, and scientific laws that are referenced in the book than I did reading the book. If you are not scientifically-minded, interested in non-fiction, or willing to research scientific achievements and references for hours on end, this book is not for you.  On the flip side, if you are convinced there is not a god, and would like to read (probably the first) a logical argument as to why god may exist, or are unsure, or even if you believe in god but not mass religion; if you enjoy learning new things, and enjoy finding out random tidbits of scientific theories and works that us lay-men have never heard of, you’ll probably enjoy this book.

With that being said, let’s move on. This book contains both a preface and an introduction, which, if you’re in the habit of skipping (I know I skip them when it’s simply another writer praising the book or reading sub-conscious “meanings” in a novel) I suggest you think again. They outline the entirety of the book, and set the premises for the arguments. As should be, considering this is a scientific essay. Oh, and in case you didn’t catch that, this book is a scientific essay. There are a couple extremely basic arguments covered in preface and introduction that are not repeated later on, most likely because they are basic and do not require repeating or going more in-depth. Even in the preface, I had to look up and research such things as ‘quantum fluctuations’, ‘quantum laws’, ‘string theory’ (which I think everyone knows a little about, but nothing like what you can read about it when you actually look into it), ‘inflation fields’ and find the definitions for things such as ‘neuro-physiological epiphenomenon’, or ‘philosophical centrists’. This is not even ten pages into the book.

The chapters are titled, and then further broken up into segments. The first chapter is titled “Personal Journey”, and details his professional life. This lends credence to his arguments, giving him both a background in religion and science. The sub-chapters (I’m not sure what else to call them) are titled “From Archabbey to Astrophysics”, “Launching a Career’, “Age of discovery”, and “Return of the Astronomer-Priest”. Please be aware (unlike my dolt of a friend I tried to convince to read this – unsuccessfully) that Bernard Haisch is an Astrophysicist. Meaning he studies the branch of astronomy that deals with the physics of the universe (and yes, I looked that up. 😛 ). He is not one of those new-age hippies who calls himself an astronomer and makes predictions based on the angle of Venus to Jupiter. That is just for clarity (I get annoyed with idiots very fast). Anyways, this first chapter details his religious background, his change into the scientific world, his professional achievements, research, and theories, and finally, the merging of his concept of ‘God’ and science.

The second chapter is “Asking Fundamental Questions”, which includes “The God Theory and Creation”, “The God Theory, Karma, and the Golden Rule”, “The God Theory and Reductionism”. Chapter three is titled “Explaining Creation”. The sub-chapters are “Creation by Subtraction”, which actually holds the strongest piece of imagery/argument (for me) in the entire book. The others in the chapter are “Polarity” and “The God Theory and Consciousness.” Chapter four is “Reductionism and a Spiritual Worldview”, detailing “Superstrings and the Supernatural”, “A Spiritual Worldview”, and “No Need for Intelligent Design”. Now that you have an idea of the types of chapters and sub-chapters in the book, I’d like to share that there are a total of eleven chapters, not including the Preface, Introduction, or Bibliography.

A lot of those probably sounded extremely detailed and way too complex to grasp. This is why I said that there will be a lot of research that goes into reading the book. At the same time, however, many of the arguments and sections that are brought up are well-explained, and require little to no background study to understand them. Such as the following excerpt from the Preface:

“Science today is based on the premises of materialism, reductionism, and randomness. Materialism is the belief that reality consists solely of matter and energy, the things that can be measured in a laboratory or observed by a telescope. Everything else is illusion of imagination. Reductionism is the belief that complex things can be explained by examining the constituent pieces, such as the illusion of consciousness arising from elementary chemical processes in the brain. Randomness is the conviction that natural processes follow the laws of chance within their allowed range of behavior.”

This information is provided in a clear, straight-forward manner, which is not difficult at all to comprehend. I suppose with the correct background in scientific study, the entire book would be clear and concise, but I’m afraid to those of us who read textbooks in our spare time (Wait, you mean you don’t? :O ) rather than having a formal eduction, a lot of this is very complex. Even looking into theories mentioned in passing, you have to read about the theory, then read more information on the theories that the initial theory was based on, and so on and so forth until you finally reach information you can comprehend, and then work backwards. It’s a lovely challenge; I loved spending time trying to reason things out and teach myself cutting-edge scientific theories.

My favorite section, and the one that stuck with me the best, is the “Creation by Subtraction”. The section is too long for me to type out, but I will sum it up the best I can. Think about a computer screen, or a projector. When it is on, there will be a plain, white light. By laying filters over this light, you can create images; since white light contains all of the colors, in order to create images, you simply have to filter out the undesired colors in the proper places. To create a photo of a family on vacation is not done by chance, it is done by intelligent subtraction. Further, to create a motion picture, a two-dimensional replica of our world, you simply have to show frames of movement at the right speed, using the filters to create each frame. Thus the white light does not change, the filters do, and the sum becomes more than the individual pieces. In this way, ‘God’ is the infinite, and to create our world, a filter was placed over, to give the desired result. So rather than an infinite number or realities with an infinite number of possibilities over the infinite number of realities, there is one reality, with an infinite number of possibilities depending on the filter used. Please note that this is all paraphrasing, and I am in no way taking credit for this, and in fact, I may have misinterpreted what the author was trying to say (although how I have interpreted it makes perfect sense to me 😛 ).

In conclusion (I feel I’ve been rambling for a while), this book is definitely worth the read. I have always been strictly a non-believer, but if there were to be a ‘God’, and they could prove its existence, then this is how I believe that ‘God’ would exist. However, I still don’t believe in mass religions, or go to church, anything of the sort. I would still consider myself atheist, and I will until the scientific community walks up to me and slaps me in the face with some proof. However, this book was a real eye-opener, refreshing to read due to its professionalism, and fascinating in every aspect. I highly recommend this.

I have a lot of books that I want. I want some more than others, no doubt, and there’s not any specific type of book that I want. Some of the books on this list are here because they are in a series I love, but that I have yet to buy; some are because I love the author; some are recommended; some the cover caught my eye; and others just because I’d like to have read them. There are fiction and non-fiction books (significantly less of the latter, I will agree), and probably something to suit most tastes. Unfortunately, I have only gone through 1 of my three lists of books I want to read, and there are already over 150 books in the list. I thought I would list them all here in one go, but I think that would be a bit overkill. So, I plan on breaking it up into categories, and writing a post for each category, such as separate posts for science fiction, high fantasy, non-fiction, or classics.

Currently I am struggling with a system that allows me to list things easily, I had intended to use Microsoft Word, but I couldn’t stack the categories. So it ended up looking like this:

Fiction

  • Fantasy
  1. High Fantasy
  • Forgotten Realms
  1. Ed Greenwood
  • Sage of Shadowdale
  1. Elminster: The Making of A Mage

Instead of neatly stacked and indented in, so I could clearly see the categories, like so:

Fiction

  • Fantasy
    • High Fantasy
      • Forgotten Realms
        • Ed Greenwood
          • Sage of Shadowdale
            1. Elminster: The Making of a Mage

So instead, I tried using Microsoft Excel, but that won’t leave me with an easy way to transfer it to a post, and if I want to add a line above the bottom (which happens regularly since my lists are in the order of which I found the books, and I’m sorting books by genre, sub-genre, meta-series, author, series, and chronological or alphabetical order), I have to go through and manually add one row at a time. How frustrating is that?

Anyways, enough of my complaining. Once I’m done compiling the list, I’ll break it up into more manageable sections to share with you guys. 🙂 Just to let you know. If you have any suggestions for books, or have a preference for the genre you want to see first, or you have any tips to help me (which would be really, REALLY appreciated) let me know.

Portal 2

Dwayne and I have just finished the multiplayer mode on Portal 2 for the PS3. I had played with my brother and my sister back before I moved, and I hadn’t realized we hadn’t completed the game. I’ve already played through single player mode, and I plan on playing through again. It’s a great game; it makes you feel more intelligent just for playing it. For simply being a puzzle game, the plot is very in-depth, and it’s highly fascinating as well.

I love how there are the two game modes – single player and multiplayer. It’s not just going through the single player mode with another person tagging along; since it’s a series of puzzles, that would have defeated the purpose. In multiplayer mode, you have to work together because it’s not possible to complete the puzzles with only one person (unless you were cheating and using two controllers, and maybe not even then because a lot of them require timing). I also love how it isn’t just the levels are re-done, but the plot stays the same; it’s like two completely separate games. It’s extremely well done, and I’m definitely not the first person to say I hope to god they make a Portal 3.

With that being said, has anyone else seen the (ages old) Portal Engagement Level Video? It’s very sweet. Here’s a video for those of you who don’t know:

<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/o8SdYz7cq04?rel=0&#8243; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Anyways, what’s your favorite video game? I may play another soon, but for now, this one is my favorite.

Dungeons and Dragons

Now I know this is the epitome of nerd-dom, and be that as it may, I can’t help but love a good campaign. I’m pretty sure the guys here would enjoy it if we could get a campaign started. Doing the typical good-guys versus evil-maniacs campaign would be fun, but so would an evil-genius versus good-sheople (sheep+people=sheople) campaign. I’ve played both before, and I’ve always found an evil campaign a great way to (peacefully) vent anger. It’s also a lot more fun getting into character, if the DM (Dungeon Master, for all you out there who don’t play) makes you play that way. Let’s face it, is it more fun to be a hero who has to save the peasant from tripping over her own skirts, or an evil genius who throws out maniacal laughter because the peasant tripped over her own skirts? So, I’m obviously biased, but being able to play as evil (especially considering almost all current games are good, or neutral at best) is refreshing and fun as hell. I’m not sure whether the guys would play an evil campaign over a good campaign, but we would have to figure out how to set one up anyways.

Unfortunately, my brother was the one who would DM for us, and I don’t have the books or know-how to do it myself.   I’ve found a site called http://www.newbieDM.com that has tips and information on how to DM, and I understand the concept, but the biggest pitfall so far is the books. Technically the lack of the books. I’m always shocked whenever I’m reminded how much more books and board games cost here in Australia than they do in the states. With the price of a set of beginner’s D&D books (Dungeon Master’s Guide, Player’s Handbook 1&2, plus a Monster Manual or two) being what it is in the states, I’m pretty sure it’s well out of my range here. Besides, I never wanted to DM. I would much prefer being in on the action than watching it from above and narrating and/or being there as a rule check. The way I think about it is: would you rather play the video game or code it? But at the same time, there are some points where the DM can annoy me to hell.

My biggest beef with DMs is what power they have and do not have, especially concerning storyline and actions taken by the player. There was one time we were playing an evil campaign and we had guards coming after us outside a merchant town a mile or two into the forest. Naturally, I wanted to burn the forest down, guards and city along with it, and make a break for the edge of the forest. What can I say, I was feeling particularly evil that day. My brother, our DM, strictly forbade me from taking that action because it wouldn’t fit in with the storyline he had in mind. That’s where I got pissed off. I understand the DM is there to reign in and keep players to the rules, but a DM isn’t a god. You can’t forbid me from doing something because it makes you unhappy. What’s next? You tell me I can’t slap a peasant because she’s important later on and you’ll have to change the storyline to accommodate her (angry) feelings towards us? Anyways, I think in a situation like this, he should have allowed me to try, even if he didn’t think we could run to the edge of the forest before the fire consumed us. So, roll the dice, try, and if we make it, then adjust the storyline. If we don’t, we go back to before I burned the forest down and we died along with it. No big deal, and it would have resulted in a lot less anger and hurt feelings. So where do you draw the line when it comes to what a DM is allowed to do or not?

Anyhow, with all that being said, I would love to have a set of books and dice, and some graph paper and pencils (I never got into buying the pre-printed dungeons; it’s cheaper and more fun to make your own as you go along). I could stumble my way through being DM, at least until I found someone else in the group willing to do it! I’ve considered trying to find a tabletop games shop and see if they have any campaigns running that I (we; I would most likely drag at least Dwayne along) could join. Or if I could befriend their DM and take him hostage to set up a beginner’s campaign for us!

What do you think? Have any of you ever played D&D before? Anyone in the Melbourne area want to DM for us? If you have played, what’s your favorite character (race, class, abilities, etc.) or your favorite event from a past campaign (did you attack that old grizzly drunkard who annoyed you only to find out that he’s a mage of uncompromised power?)

I was going to do a spotlight on The Legend of Drizzt, but there are so many of those books, and he’s written so many other good books, it would be difficult to do. Instead I decided to do a look at all his books, but that proved to be too long. This focuses on The Legend of Drizzt series, but also includes The Cleric Quintet since it is directly related to the series.I will finish off with the rest of his books soon, hopefully.

To begin, his most well-known and most extensive series would be The Legend of Drizzt.  The first series (it was written as a series of smaller series of books) by publication date is The Icewind Dale Trilogy, and although chronologically should belong second in the series, I recommend reading this first, especially if you are new to the Forgotten Realms books. The Icewind Dale Trilogy contains The Crystal Shard, Streams of Silver, and The Halfling’s Gem. I recommend reading The Dark Elf Trilogy next, although it is the prequel. This trilogy includes Homeland Exile, and Sojourn. It makes more sense once you have a firm grasp on the world and the characters. After The Dark Elf Trilogy was published, came Legacy of The Drow. It follows The Icewind Dale Trilogy chronologically, so don’t get your storyline mixed up! This series includes the books The Legacy, Starless Night, Siege of Darkness, and Passage to Dawn. Next in the storyline is the series Paths of Darkness, including The Silent Blade, The Spine of the World, and Sea of Swords. Originally, Servant of The Shard was part of this series as well, but it has been moved into the next series for reasons I’m not sure of. I remember reading it, but I can’t remember enough of the plot to know whether it makes more sense in the original order, or the new order, so I’m writing these in the new order, since I vaguely remember the book we had as having it marked as an excerpt of something to come later. The next to come is The Sellswords, which is Servant of the Shard, Promise of the Witch King, and Road of the Patriarch, which is followed by The Hunter’s Blades Trilogy comprising The Thousand Orcs, The Lone Drow, and The Two Swords. To be completely honest, this is as far as I have made it into the series and it was all wonderful (with the exception of a beautifully written plot twist that mangled my favorite character and left me angry, but it was still well written). I was too busy reading other books to finish Transitions, which includes The Orc King, The Pirate King, and The Ghost King, but from what I have heard they are every bit as good as the other books. The series finishes off with (for now, I’m not sure if it will be continued) Neverwinter which has three books, the last is planned to be released August 7th, 2012. Their titles are Gauntlgrym, Neverwinter, and Charon’s Claw. For a total of 26 books in the main storyline, purchasing all the books is expensive, which is exactly what you will end up doing once you start the series.

I read these originally when I was in 5th grade (I had a rather high reading level for my age; I read the Little House on the Prairie books in 2nd grade 😛 ) so my memories of the plot are not amazing. Dwayne is reading it for the first time, and we talk about the plot every night. He’s constantly telling me he gets weird looks reading on the trains because he bursts out laughing while he’s reading. This is something I definitely remember, the characters have great humour and the books are highly enjoyable. Even so, these are not intended as comedy. The battle scenes are well written, intense and serious without being horrifically gory, and the adventures and fantasy aspects are well done also. Even the plot twists I don’t like are beautifully worked out. The characters are constantly evolving, yet they are timeless. The play between characters is well thought out, and even the characters who come into play once, and then come back several books after are consistent and well done. These will keep you guessing, laughing, and interested for a very long time. They are not as long as some of the books I’ve read recently, and Dwayne has been reading them in 3-4 days apiece, though I’ll admit he has had his nose stuck in them constantly!

Not following the main storyline, but including characters that come into play in The Legend of Drizzt books, is The Cleric Quintet. This series includes Canticle, In Sylvan Shadows, Night Masks, The Fallen Fortress, and The Chaos Curse. As per his previous writings, this is expertly written and an amazing source of entertainment. The plot will draw you in and surprise you, whilst characters are sticking their thumbs in their ears and waggling their fingers at you (literally). This is the back story of characters included in The Legend of Drizzt Series. Like all his other books, this is well worth the read. It was published after The Dark Elf Trilogy, so if you read it alongside the other books, I would recommend after The Dark Elf Trilogy but before Legacy of the Drow. 

Happy reading!

 

Here’s another song I’ve fallen in love with. Daughters of Darkness by Halestorm is awesome. I was singing it at work a few days ago, and my coworkers were enjoying my (admittedly terrible) rendition. Probably because they were laughing their butts off at me.

One of the things I love about Halestorm is the lead singer, Lizzie Hale, is unlike almost any female singer I’ve heard before. I absolutely hate whiny, sappy, sweet female singers. There are too many of them and most of their music isn’t original. I don’t know of many metal bands fronted by a woman though. Lizzie Hale has an *amazing* vocal range (I’ve heard her compared to Annie Lenox). Not to mention, she also plays guitar (which is pretty awesome; there are bands out there where the front can’t play guitar and sing at the same time *cough*Green Day*cough*) and she’s drop dead gorgeous. Not that that has anything to do with anything, but I just thought it was worth mentioning.