What I've Been Reading

Sorry if I dropped off the face of the earth the last few weeks.  I've been reading up a storm.  Here's what's been in my bookbag.  If they sound interesting to you, please do check them out. 

The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Kote is moThe Name of the Wind Coverre than just the innkeeper at the local tavern, he's really Kvothe, a hero of legend who has mastered arcane forces, slain fell beasts, traveled in Faerie country, hunted bandits and penned songs that will be sung for ages.  These are the stories of his life, his education, his travels and the dawning realization that deeper forces work behind the scenes, and the madness that understanding them entails.  The first book lays out the world and the creatures that live and move therein; the second book goes deeper into the mind of the arcanist and how magic changes a person.  The books are beautifully crafted tales, full of adventures, and for someone who is fascinated with magic this was a brilliant work.  I really look forward to the third book in the series.

The Magician King by Lev Grossman

This is The Magician Kingthe sequel to Grossman's The Magicians, and it picks up right where the first left off.  Quentin, Julia and the gang are ruling over the very Narnia-like kingdom of Fillory, and are kind of bored of it.  Well, Quentin at least is bored, so he decides that he needs to go have a little adventure.  Just a little one.  So he sets the shipbuilders to making the finest vessel in the fleet, crafted of ancient woods and able to transform at will into whatever kind of transportation is needed.  He holds a tournament to find the best swordsman in the land.  He finds a brave and venturous captain and gets a mapmaking boy to go with them all into uncharted territories. All of this just to collect some back taxes, and then sail homeward.  Yes, the ennui of these characters knows no bounds.  And that's the wonderful bit of this, now, series.  It's brilliant, pompous, jaded, New York socialite wizards who have nothing better to do, so they go take over a fantasy land.  But as fantasy lands always do, they take their toll in their own ways, and story book tales have story book endings, even if the details are gruesome and horrifying. 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One CoverIn this dystopian future, the American economy has collapsed, debt slavery has resurfaced, energy supplies are running woefully thin, and all that people want is to escape reality.  Thankfully, they do have that escape valve in the immersive video game environment known as The OASIS.  The OASIS is every video game, television series, science fiction and fantasy realm that has ever existed as a 3-D holographic environment.  It is also the brain child of one eccentric visionary programmer named James Halliday.  Upon his death, Halliday has a Willy Wonka moment and reveals that he has hidden a series of easter eggs within The OASIS environment and that the first person to find them all and complete the quest will be the heir to his vast fortune and get the keys to the kingdom (as well as God-mode).  What follows is the most '80s-tastic, reference-laden scavenger hunt you will ever read.  If you are a fan of classic arcade games, text-based adventures, and a good-vs.-evil story, then you must absolutely read this book.  It's hilarious, gripping and tons of fun to read. 

-- Eric Riley