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review 2018-07-17 04:11
The Eye of the World, The Wheel of Time #1
The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, #1) - Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time has become one of my absolute favorite series. I read 'The Eye of the World' many, many times and spent countless hours dreaming about this world that Robert Jordan had created. As the series went on (and on) it suffered by comparison with other books, reading the last five or six books only once, but I've found myself coming back to it and falling in love all over again. This time around I'm following the reread by Leigh Butler and discovered a new blog on Tor.com where a reader is discovering the series for the first time. I've never had much luck convincing friends to read what I'm loving at the moment/forever, so its fun to read along and discover the fandom attached to this particular series.

The world is driven by magic, two complementary sources of the One Power divided between men and women. The man's half was Tainted thousands of years ago, cursing all men born to channel it to be driven mad and must be hunted down before they can cause another Breaking of the World. Women have power in 'The Wheel of Time', and there are no shortage of strong female characters, complex villains, and a lot of moral grey areas for a story about a conflict between the Light and the Dark. There is a legend that a hero will come, The Dragon, a reincarnation of a powerful male channeller who will save the world from the Dark One - but not without a terrible price.

Some time ago I parted with my crumbling mass-markets, so I'm taking advantage of my bookstore connections (I couldn't convince my friends to pick up a book, but I make a living that way now, ha) and am buying the trade paperbacks with the new cover art.

'The Eye of the World' has many deliberate parallels with 'The Lord of the Rings', and so starts out in the remote community of the Two Rivers. Summarizing of 'The Wheel of Time' is something best left to professionals, so I'll just touch on the very beginning:

Rand al'Thor doesn't have much more on his mind then meeting his friends for the festival of Bel Tine and figuring out his feelings for pretty Egwene al'Vere. He sees a frightening figure in black on the road to Emond's Field and his life is changed after that. There is a deadly attack on the village by monsters thought to be mythical, and they were looking for someone. Rand finds himself, along with his friends the mischievous Mat Cauthon, the steady and faithful Perrin Aybara convinced by Moiraine, an Aes Sedai (a powerful magic user) and her bodyguard, or Warder, Lan, to leave their home immediately in order to protect it and themselves. Egwene discovers their plan and insists on coming so she can see the world outside. A traveling storyteller, a gleeman named Thom, joins the party, too. They are not too far out of the village before they are tracked down, literally, by the young village Wisdom Nynaeve al'Meara. She has been a mentor to Egwene and a leader in the village and feels responsible for the young people being dragged out into the world for dubious reasons.

The series is known for its length, roughly 11,000 pages altogether, and it's detailed world-building, but there is a lot of action in these first books. The story is almost completely from Rand's perspective with only as-needed POVs from Perrin and Nynaeve. Later books featured dozens of POVs - there must be a count somewhere, I would be surprised if it was well over 100 - but 'The Eye of the World' was about Rand's journey into the outside and his first steps on the road to his destiny. He explores a cursed and ruined city, meets a beautiful princess named Elayne, travels incognito on the ship of a collector of antiquities, 'plays for his supper' in taverns on the run, is hunted by darkfriends (people sworn to the shadow), witnesses ancient magic, travels to the decaying Blight and witnesses monsters firsthand. Along the way he befriends an ogier named Loial. Ogier are ten feet tall, live for centuries, and revere the written word. Loial is impetuous and set out on his own to explore the world, but is often confused by how different the world is from the old books he's written. He's wonderful.

It is amazing to read these characters all over again and see how far they come. They are altered forever by this journey, and this first quest ends up being only the beginning of a long road. There are flaws and regrettable errors in this series, but they came from Robert Jordan wanting to create this diverse, inclusive, complicated world, and he was from a background where certain possibilities didn't occur to him. He gets a lot of respect from me. These books are such an achievement and opened so many doors for me as a reader. I'm thrilled that I'm loving this book just as much now, without reservation, as I did when I was 13.

The Wheel of Time:

Next: 'The Great Hunt'

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quote 2018-06-13 10:44
For there are moments in all our lives, great and small, that we must trudge alone our forlorn roads into infinite wilderness, to endure our midnight hours of pain and sorrow--- the Gethsemane moments, when we are on our knees or backs, crying out to a universe that seems to have abandoned us. These are the greatest of moments, where we show our souls. They are our "finest hours." That these moments are given to us is neither accidental not cruel. Without great mountains we cannot reach great heights. And we were born to reach great heights.
Miles to Go - Richard Paul Evans

Page 317 (the last page)

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review 2018-05-12 18:26
Daughter of the Mountains - Louise S. Rankin,Kurt Wiese

All that Momo ever wanted was a dog. Whenever she finally gets one, the dog is kidnapped. Momo must travel across the country by herself in order to bring back her dog safely.

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review 2018-05-03 00:00
Melokai (In the Heart of the Mountains Book 1)
Melokai (In the Heart of the Mountains Book 1) - Rosalyn Kelly I received a copy for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger warnings for gore and sexual violence.

Melokai is an epic fantasy featuring a great, diverse cast of characters and an intriguing storyline which, while not having many twists and turns, still manages to be compelling.

The book starts in the mountain country of Peqya, a country ruled by women and in which men are reduced to slaves and Pleasure Givers (actual term in the book). Ramya is the titular Melokai, or the country's ruler. She believes her people loves her and are happy with her long and prosperous rule. As the rest of the novel progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that this isn't exactly the case. Her own advisers for example, express their disagreement and in some cases, disgust even at her actions. Peqya also advocates equality between women but not with men and it predictably made a lot of people disgruntled and angry with their lot in life.

Ramya isn't the only POV character though. The book features different point-of-views, from Ramya's former PG to royalty from distant lands to people in her army even. Ramya herself wasn't even my favorite POV character in this book. In fact, I found her to be arrogant and she also made some decisions which I thought should have resulted in international incidents. As a ruler, she was said to be a good one but either I have different standards or that was just what she thought of herself. It's one of those things I appreciate about this book- Ramya thinks about one thing, doesn't mind the consequences, and doesn't think about the people she's actually alienating.

The other characters are also pretty good. There's a spoiled brat prince from a desert country who gets his ass handed to him, a queen from another country who becomes friends with Ramya, and even a sentient wolf with a complicated past. All of their arcs come together to form an intricately woven fantasy world.

I also loved the world-building. It feels incredibly lush, from the decadent nations to the harsh lands the wolves inhabit, I felt totally immersed in the worlds and cultures the author was describing. I also liked the cat imagery presented in Peqya, even though I myself identifies as more of a dog lover. I also liked the writing style which conveyed the characters' personalities, motivations, and characteristics very well.

All in all, I really liked the novel and I'll also be putting the next one on my TBR list.
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review 2017-11-22 21:10
A Lady?s Life in the Rocky Mountains - Isabella L. Bird

A Ladys Life in the Rocky Mountains
1873 Mining towns and other adventures on her way home to England.
Isobella Byrd traveled on horseback and met quite the variety of colorful characters.
Book contains a collection of letters from Isobella to her sister as she describes in very detail her travels and things she sees along the way.
So very detailed it sounds so beautiful. Boric acid use for getting rid of bugs-we use it today even!
So many sites are seen up close and personal.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

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