Happy #mapmonday ! – My Favorite Fantasy Maps!

I thought it would be fun to show some love to fantasy maps today! Some of these I like for the style and some I like for the design of the land itself.

I thought it would be fun to show some love to fantasy maps today! Some of these I like for the style and some I like for the design of the land itself.

Prythian – A Court of Thorns and Roses series

For this map, I actually like how much potential it has. The big continent over in the east is mentioned very little in the series (so far), so the thing I’m actually the most excited for going forward is being able to see more of this world!

Erilea – Throne of Glass series

I actually think that this is a fairly unique map for fantasy. I like that it shows pretty much the entire continent, even though I wish more of it was relevant to the story. I do also wish we had gotten a map of Wendlyn, but hopefully in the future.

Elendel – Second Era Mistborn series

*Some spoilers for the First Era Mistborn books!*

The reason I didn’t pick the map of the Final Empire was because I love how intentional this one was (as it should be). It’s one thing to hear that it was intentional, but you can clearly see it from the map. Also, the names of things just make me happy.

Elfhame – The Folk of Air series

This map is actually kind of useless, because the specific location of things does not matter the story, but I adore the art style!

The Old Kingdom – The Old Kingdom series

I think this map is so cool! It’s pretty unique and I just feel like it fits the world and the magic really well.

Roshar – The Stormlight Archive

The shape of Roshar has always intrigued me, but I have a special place in my heart for this map because we actually get to see a fair amount of it in the story. Also, the Purelake is just so freaking cool to me.

Ravka – The Grishaverse

I like the fact that water is in the middle of the map and I also really like the artistic style, specifically the boat in the ocean!

Queendom of Inys – The Priory of the Orange Tree

I love the style of this map and I think the land itself is really cool!

Middle Earth – The Lord of the Rings

I have hand-drawn this and painted it on a canvas, so there is no way I wasn’t going to include it! Also, it’s just a classic!


What are your favorite fantasy maps? I’m curious if anyone disagrees with any of my picks!

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Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson (Part One)

This collection of short stories from Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere universe include stories from Elantris, Mistborn, and The Stormlight Archive.

Fantasy. 672 pages, published in 2016

This collection of short stories from Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere universe include stories from Elantris, Mistborn, and The Stormlight Archive.

Spoiler Free Review:

I decided to split this post into two! I will be doing mini reviews for each of the nine stories in this collection, so if I did it all in one, this post would be very long. I am going to rate each story, instead of the book as a whole. Look forward to part two, coming on February 20th!

THE EMPEROR’S SOUL

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I really enjoyed this story! It took place on the same planet as Elantris, but no prior knowledge of that story is required to enjoy this one. At first, I was a little hesitant because I didn’t know if it would be hard to understand an all new magic system in a short story. I’m sure he could have gone more into depth with it, but it was kept simple enough.

What I enjoyed the most about this story was how much the main character analyzed and understood people. She has to recreate the soul of someone she’d never met, so the lengths she went to to understand him were really interesting. I also enjoyed how creative the magic could be, but it could also be very tricky.

Overall, I just really enjoyed this story and I can understand why it won a Hugo!

THE HOPE OF ELANTRIS

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This takes place during the climax of Elantris, so I won’t say anything about the plot. However, I thought this story was pointless. It was super short, so I didn’t mind too much, but still, I didn’t like it. It was information that I just did not need. The reason why he wrote it is sweet, but it doesn’t make up for how unnecessary it was.

THE ELEVENTH METAL

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This story takes place before the events of The Final Empire in the Mistborn series. It shows a vital character to the series and his motivations. For the most part, I enjoyed this while reading it, but it has since kind of faded from my mind. I did feel super nostalgic returning to this world, so I may just have to reread this series soon.

ALLOMANCER JAK

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This story takes place in the second era Mistborn books. There aren’t any characters from that part of the series. It is about Allomancer Jak, who writes his adventures down and publishes them in broadsheets. There is heavy usage of footnotes in this story, which I normally don’t like, but they were so funny in this! This story was just the right length. Any longer, and it would have gotten old, but it was just long enough to be super funny. I really enjoyed it!

MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY

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This takes place during The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages. Again, I won’t say anything about the plot since it contains lots of spoilers. It kind of explores the events of those books from a different perspective. There is a ton of information in this story about the magic of this world and about the Cosmere in general. It was kind of overwhelming to take in, to be honest.

I thought the actual story was fine for the most part. The ending was my favorite section because it made me super emotional. I appreciate the story and all the information, but I did think that this story was a little bit too long.


Stay tuned for the second part of this review!

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Books I Plan to Reread This Year!

One of my goals this year was to reread a lot, so I’ve come up with a lot of books I want to try to get to this year. I was originally going to make a schedule of when I wanted to reread everything, but that’s really not who I am.

One of my goals this year was to reread a lot, so I’ve come up with some books I want to try to get to this year. I was originally going to make a schedule of when I wanted to reread everything, but that’s really not who I am. These are in no particular order!

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES

I had lukewarm feelings about the first and third book of this series, and with the next book coming out soon-ish, I want to give these a reread. ACOMAF was an all-time favorite of mine, so I want to see if my opinion has changed on that.

THE BOOKS OF BAYERN

I’ve read The Goose Girl probably close to 10 times, but I’ve only read the other books in this series once, maybe twice. I finally bought them all when they came out with these gorgeous new editions! They are gonna be super quick reads.

SIX OF CROWS

I really loved this series when I was reading it, though I do remember being confused by Crooked Kingdom. I would like to savor these a little bit more this time around because I was definitely rushing the first time.

MISTBORN

As I am writing this, I just started reading The Eleventh Metal, a short story to go with this series, and it gave me a HUGE rush of nostalgia for these books! The atmosphere, the characters, the magic, I loved it all! I can’t decide if I want to reread the second era as well. I think I would enjoy them more the second time around because I know what to expect.

THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO

I seriously adored this book the first time around! I want to feel that way again. This book is unlike anything else I’ve read before.

STRANGE THE DREAMER

Laini’s writing is absolutely stunning and I want to experience it again! Also, these books just speak to my soul, okay I need to reread them.

AKEMI DAWN BOWMAN BOOKS

I related to Starfish when I read it more than any other book I had read before. Both of her books are beautifully written and are so powerful. I can’t wait for her next book!

THE LUNAR CHRONICLES

I read this series right when I started getting back into reading and I loved it! I know I got a little burnt out on them by the last book, so I may try and space them out a little more this time.

THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS

This book is absolutely gorgeous! I don’t normally love books of short stories, but the artwork combined with the creative and memorable stories makes this one of my favorites.

Do you have any goals to reread this year?

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The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson

Synopsis: Waxillium and the rest of his friends are off to find the Bands of Mourning, mythical objects left behind the Lord Ruler more than 300 years before. Along the way, they also try to find a missing item for a kandra, as well as deal with Wax’s longtime enemies, the Set.

Fantasy, 437 pages, published in 2016

Synopsis: Waxillium and the rest of his friends are off to find the Bands of Mourning, mythical objects left behind the Lord Ruler more than 300 years before. Along the way, they also try to find a missing item for a kandra, as well as deal with Wax’s longtime enemies, the Set.

Non-Spoiler Review:

I’ve noticed that I drag my feet when it comes to reading the second era Mistborn books because I honestly don’t really care about Wax as a character, so it took me a bit to pick up this book. The beginning was slow for me, but once I got to the end, it flew through it.

My biggest problem with Wax is that I feel like a lot of his scenes are him just Pushing off of bullets and that honestly gets boring for me. In the first era, at least we had Vin, who could kind of experiment with different combinations of Allomancy, but Wax is limited to just Pushing. The other action scenes are fine, but the ones with Wax are just not good for me.

I really liked that the characters finally got to travel a bit! We were stuck in Elendel for the most part in the first two books, so it was nice to see some of the other parts of the world. I also liked that we got to hear more about the world even further outside the Basin and the Roughs. I think with fantasy a lot of the time, the plot is taking place in just one area, so the rest of the planet gets forgotten about, so it refreshing to be able to hear about some other parts of Scadriel in this book.

One of my favorite things about this book is Wayne and Marasi’s friendship. They just have really cute banter and I love that he’ll call her “Mara” sometimes (I don’t recall anyone else calling her that). She’s just always exasperated by him, but they work well together. I thought it maybe would turn romantic at first, but I’m actually loving them just being friends.

The end of this book had me absolutely shaken. There were so many twists and the very end was crazy and I can’t wait to hear more about it. I truly just really love the world of Mistborn. It is so interesting and Brandon does such a good job at weaving things together and making them believable. I can’t wait for The Lost Metal. There is always another secret, and I’m ready for the next one.

Books with Satisfying Endings!

This might seem like a late post about how bad the Game of Thrones ending was, but nope (I jumped ship on that one years ago), I’ve just been pretty disappointed with book endings lately. There have been so many books that I’ve loved, then the ending just falls so flat, so it got me thinking about books that actually have satisfying endings!

This might seem like a late post about how bad the Game of Thrones ending was, but nope (I jumped ship on that one years ago), I’ve just been pretty disappointed with book endings lately. There have been so many books that I’ve loved, then the ending just falls so flat, so it got me thinking about books that actually have satisfying endings!

While writing this post, I realized that I have a specific type of ending I love: wrapped up, but still somewhat open-ended, so you can imagine what the characters are up to in the future. I don’t like it when endings are super neat and easy.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

I just reviewed this book, but I loved it so much that I need to talk about it again! The ending to this book was really, really good. It has been one of the only satisfying romance endings that I have read recently. It doesn’t feel rushed and pretty much everything is wrapped up, but it is left open enough that you’re not absolutely sure what happens in the future. The ending to this book also left me feeling super hopeful!

The Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson knows how to write a damn good ending, both for each book in a series, as well as for the series as a whole. His endings leave me absolutely breathless. Usually, the climax is so action-packed, but at the same time, everything makes sense within the world that he’s made. The Hero of Ages, the last book in the original Mistborn series, had a spectacular ending! I’m pretty sure I walked around in a daze for the rest of the day after I finished this book because I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.

The Strange the Dreamer duology by Laini Taylor

It has been a little while since I read these books, but I remember feeling so satisfied with the ending! It wraps up the conflict of the story, but it is open enough that, once again, you can imagine what happens to the characters next. The ending of this duology was great, but honestly, these entire books were SO good!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is the only book on the list that doesn’t end in an open-ended, anything could happen next kind of way. It has a pretty definitive ending, but it just felt really powerful and I left the book feeling very satisfied. This book gets recommended everywhere, but it is so worth it.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The ending of this book definitely gave me a classic “lay in bed and stare at the ceiling while thinking about the amazing book you just finished” moment. This is a big book, so there is a lot to wrap up, but it was done so well. Things that needed answers got answers that made sense considering the world.

The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

Synopsis: 300 years after the end of the original Mistborn trilogy, most of the characters have faded into the stuff of legend. The world of Scadrial has become much more modern, with railroads, guns, and the beginnings of electricity and automobiles. After living in the Roughs for 20 years as a lawman, Waxillium Ladrian must return to Elendel to run his household. He is joined by longtime friend and partner Wayne, as well as his betrothed Steris and her cousin Marasi as they uncover plots that threaten to ruin Elendel.

NON-SPOILER REVIEW:

I was going to review this whole series together, but I think I need a break before reading The Bands of Mourning, so I wanted to get all my thoughts out now so I don’t forget anything. I’m not sure how much sense this review will make if you aren’t familiar with the original trilogy, but I tried to make it accessible. Here is some background for things I mention in this review:

An Allomancer can ingest a certain metal and “burn” it to a specific power based on the metal. An Allomancer can only burn one specific metal, but someone who can burn all Allomantic metals are called Mistborn. Feruchemy allows the user to store specific attributes in the same metals. Most Feruchemists use jewelry or bracers for this. Hemalurgy uses spikes made of the metals to pierce and kill an Allomancer or Feruchemist to steal their power. Anyone who pierces their skin with one of these spikes gets the power stored in the spike. All three are known as the metallic arts. Kandra are a species of creatures that consume a person’s bones and become them. Though they don’t retain any of the person’s memories, they are very good at getting enough information to accurately become that person.

I really enjoyed both The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self! It did take me a hot minute to read Shadows of Self, especially considering how short it is, but I think that it just wasn’t the genre that I was in the mood for at the time. I had heard the Wax and Wayne series was going to be very different than trilogy, so I thought I was prepared, but I wasn’t. It wasn’t different in a bad way at all, but it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that this was the same world since so many things had changed.

Once again, one of my favorite things about these books is the creative uses of Allomancy and Feruchemy. I thought it was so interesting to see how the usage of those powers changed with technological advances. Instead of using coins to Steelpush off of like in the past, Wax uses bullets because guns have been invented. I also thought it was really interesting that there were Twinborn, people with a Allomatic power and a Feruchemical power. Wax can Steelpush, but he can also make himself lighter or heavier, so seeing the interaction between those two powers and how creative he could get with it was really cool!

I also thought that it was cool how this series kind of mirrored the original. In the original trilogy, each book gets you acquainted with a different metallic art, so you really get the chance to understand and become familiar with each one. The Alloy of Law focused on how Allomancy and Feruchemy work together, then Shadows of Self introduces some new uses of Hemalurgy. It is a clever way to make sure readers aren’t overwhelmed by all the different powers. I’m excited to see what twist on the metallic arts will be in The Bands of Mourning! Shadows of Self also had a “who’s the kandra” plotline, similar to the second book of the original trilogy. I personally love the kandra, so I was excited to see this plotline being done again (in a different way).

I really enjoy the characters in this series! I think Wayne is actually hilarious and I love Marasi. Wax isn’t my favorite, but that honestly could just be because he is the one involved in action scenes, which get kind of boring for me. I think the relationship between Wax and Wayne is also really interesting because it’s unique. They work together and care about each other, but they can also piss each other off and make fun of each other.

I love the cameos and throwbacks to the original series. There are buildings, roads, and towns named after the original characters. It is interesting how they became the religious and mythical figures of world. I’m also so glad to see the characters who made an appearance (in Shadows of Self, not necessarily The Alloy of Law).

Brandon Sanderson is so good at writing twists that make sense! No twist of his ever leaves me feeling cheated because even if I can’t predict what will happen, I can look back and remember the clues he placed in the story. If I can predict a twist, then I feel accomplished because I was able to pick up small clues throughout the story.

Overall, I think these books are super fun and I’m really enjoying them! I love the world of Mistborn and I think the magic systems are so cool and unique. The reason I am stepping away from this series for a bit is because I’m a little bored of action-heavy scenes. These books are definitely full of them, so it kind of caused me to be less inclined to pick the book up. I’m definitely still loving the story, and especially after the end of Shadows of Self, I am excited to read the rest!

Book Review: The Well Of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

Synopsis: One year after the events of The Final Empire, Vin and Elend must deal with three armies coming to take control of the hard won Luthadel and with the mists that are changing since the Lord Ruler’s death.

Genre: Fantasy

Published: August 21, 2007

Pages: 781

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis: One year after the events of The Final Empire, Vin and Elend must deal with three armies coming to take control of the hard won Luthadel and with the mists that are changing since the Lord Ruler’s death.

Non-spoiler Review:

**Note: There will be spoilers from The Final Empire, so if you haven’t read that book first, be warned!**

I was so excited to read this book after finishing The Final Empire, and it did not disappoint! I love this story and the world so much, like they are so fascinating to me. Brandon is so deliberate in the way that he wrote these books and I love it. I think it was interesting that there was a one year time skip between these books. Honestly, it didn’t really feel like it was a full year to me, but maybe only a couple months instead.

I really enjoyed the expansion of the world in this book. We get to learn more about Allomancy and Feruchemy, as well as some new creatures like the koloss and the kandra. My favorite thing about the magic in this book is that it isn’t very complicated, but the applications of it can be really creative!

I really like Vin in general, but I did get pretty frustrated with her and Elend in this book because a lot of their relationship problems would have been solved if they just talked to each other about it rather than stewing on it. I do think they both had interesting character arcs in this book! Seeing Elend grow from a purely scholarly guy into more was nice. I also enjoyed the political things that went on in this book. Normally, political happenings can go over my head, but it was interesting and not hard to understand.

My favorite characters from this book were OreSeur and Tindwyl. OreSeur’s relationship with Vin was just so good and I looked forward to every scene were they could kind of just sit and talk. I was so excited when Tindwyl was introduced because there is finally another female character! I really loved her strength and it was interesting to see another person from Terris.

My two biggest complaints about this book is that there are still not enough female characters (only 3 in this book) and that the end was a little confusing. I’m not sure if that is because I read it too fast or if more things will be answered in book three, but I definitely don’t understand it as well as I could.

I am so excited to read book three to see how this all ends!

Review: The Final Empire

Synopsis: In the world of The Final Empire, the Dark Lord won. For a thousand years, the common people have been oppressed, beaten down, and degraded by the immortal Lord Ruler’s reign. Kelseir, a Mistborn who can use all eight metals of Allomancy, gets streeturchin Vin to join his thieving crew on their latest mission – take down the Final Empire and the Lord Ruler.

Genre: Fantasy

Published: 2006

Pages: 648

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis: In the world of The Final Empire, the Dark Lord won. For a thousand years, the common people have been oppressed, beaten down, and degraded by the immortal Lord Ruler’s reign. Kelseir, a Mistborn who can use all eight metals of Allomancy, gets streeturchin Vin to join his thieving crew on their latest mission – take down the Final Empire and the Lord Ruler.

Non-Spoiler Review:

I think this is going to be such an easy book to review because I absolutely loved it! I was definitely skeptical because of the hype and the fact that adult fantasy intimidates me. I was really blown away!

The whole book is in limited third person, except for the brief italicized paragraphs written in first person by an unknown character. I thought these were really interesting because I was kept guessing for awhile about whose point of view those were from.

The plot definitely was a little slow at first, but I can understand that it was necessary because there was a lot of world building that had to happen. It starts out as a sort of heist, but it definitely evolves from there throughout the book. I thought the world overall was so interesting. The magic system, Allomancy, where one consumes then burns different metals to alter their own abilities, was really interesting and unique! I was expecting the system overall to be a lot more complex, but the complex part is how the characters utilize this power. There’s so much the reader learns about the magic and the world in this first book, but there is so much more to learn in the next books.

The characters were the part of this book that grabbed me the least, although I did really enjoy most of them. I really liked that most of the book was from Vin’s perspective, because she was one of my favorites. I really liked her growth throughout the book, both as a character and in terms of her powers. Another character I loved was Elend, and I’m very excited that he will be in the next books a lot more. The whole crew was pretty fun, but I will say that some of the characters blended together for me. My biggest complaint about this book is that Vin is pretty much the only female character. Other than her, there are two named noblewomen, but overall in the story, they are not important at all. I think the characters in the thieving crew would have honestly been easier to keep separate if any of them were women. (πŸ‘€ @ Brandy Sandy…I know he can do better, based on Skyward and what I’ve heard about The Way of Kings).

There was a lot of foreshadowing, and while I definitely was able to guess some things ahead of time, there were a lot of things that still took me by surprise! Nothing was out of the blue though, as there were definitely hints in the book beforehand that I just didn’t pick up on, even though I was actively trying to figure things out.

An important thing I wanted to mention was Brandon’s annotations on his website! He has annotations for every chapter of the book where he talks about why he did certain things, what he was thinking when he was writing, his struggles, changes he made, and more. I would read what I could for the day, then I’d read the annotations for the chapters that I finished. It was so interesting! I think it helped me absorb the story a little more and it was interesting to kind of get a preview about what will be expanded upon in the rest of the series. I highly recommend reading these annotations for this book, or any of the other books he has annotations for. They obviously have spoilers, so only read them if you have read the book they are for.

Overall, I really really enjoyed this book! I am silently cursing myself for getting the UK editions of these books because it takes some time for them to be shipped to me, so I have to wait to read the rest of the series. I think it definitely earns the hype and its spot among fantasy classics.

Some Spoilery Things:

I guess who the italicized parts were at chapter 12! I had my suspicions before that, but that was the chapter were I was certain.

Some of the things that were foreshadowed that I guessed correctly:

  • The Lord Ruler using Feruchemy. As soon as Sazed said that it could be used to make yourself younger or older, I knew that had to be the key to his immortality.
  • There was definitely a reason that Reen kept moving himself and Vin around.
  • Marsh wasn’t dead. When you have a body that is “barely recognizable as human”, that’s definitely not the body you’re supposed to think it is!
  • The Inquisitors asking Vin who her father is. I knew that was important, but I didn’t really guess how it would come into play

Two of my absolute favorite scenes happened right after one another: when Vin fights Shan, then when Vin puts Kelsier in his place, saying that he really doesn’t know what its like to be a common skaa. Both of those scenes really get to the essence of why I like Vin so much.