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Novella Review: Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson

Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson

Title: Legion: Skin Deep

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Series: Legion #2

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5 stars!

The Overview: Stephen Leeds, AKA “Legion,” is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the new story begins, Leeds and his “aspects” are hired by I3 (Innovative Information Incorporated) to recover a corpse stolen from the local morgue. But there’s a catch. The corpse is that of a pioneer in the field of experimental biotechnology, a man whose work concerned the use of the human body as a massive storage device. He may have embedded something in the cells of his now dead body. And that something might be dangerous… What follows is a visionary thriller about the potential uses of technology, the mysteries of the human personality, and the ancient human need to believe that death is not the end. Legion: Skin Deep is speculative fiction at it most highly developed. It reaffirms Sanderson’s place as one of contemporary fiction’s most intelligent—and unpredictable—voices. -Goodreads

The Review:

Both Legion novellas were absolutely delightful. The concept was unique (a brilliant man whose “not crazy”, but harbors several human aspects who help him store information and solve crimes), the mysteries were interesting, and the writing was superb – yup! It’s definitely a Sanderson. What I especially loved about Skin Deep was the humor – I laughed so much through the first half I went back and read it again – you can tell Sanderson had a lot of fun writing it. The resolution to the mystery may have been wrapped up a little too conveniently for my tastes, but I still liked it. Overall, if you’re in the mood for something different – or if you’re mega Sanderson fan (like me <3) who hasn’t yet read it – Legion is the perfect pick!

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Series Review: The Reckoners [1.5-3] by Brandon Sanderson

The Reckoners [1.5-3]
by Brandon Sanderson

Because I’ve already gushed in detail over Steelheart [4 stars] in a previous review, I wanted to give my brief impressions of the rest of this awesome trilogy.


Mitosis #1.5

This is one of the few novellas I felt actually added something essential to the series. The ongoing arc of The Reckoners is the characters’ struggle to figure out how epics’ weaknesses work. Mitosis offers so many clues! And I came away more pumped about the series than ever. This novella is totally worth your time if you plan to read the series.

4/5 stars


Firefight #2

I read The Reckoners series for book club, and it was pretty clear that I liked Firefight a lot more than my friends. I really liked the change of setting, thought the epics introduced were interesting, and found the whole thing wildly entertaining and funny the entire way through. However, my buddies thought it was good, but a little boring, taking a long time to get going (which ironically was my issue with the 3rd book (which they all loved)). The one thing we could all agree on was that we liked it, even if some did more than others. Firefight was my personal favorite of the series.

4.5/5 stars


Calamity #3

Even though I finished this series ages ago, I still felt compelled to write a review for it. I initially rated Calamity higher [4.5 stars] because I love the author and really enjoyed the series as a whole. It felt oddly disloyal to give it anything other than a stellar rating. If I’m honest, though, Calamity was my least favorite of the trilogy. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book – it was a lot of fun and I even like how it ended (mostly). I just felt like it was a bit too repetitive at times and took too long to get going. Even so, 3.5 stars is still a “I liked it a lot, but I didn’t really, really like it” rating. ;)

3.5/5 stars


Overall, The Reckoners is another great work from Sanderson. It’s funny, action-packed, creative, and appeals to a wide audience. It’s an easy hand-sell to customers and one of my favorites to recommend.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Novella Review: Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson

perfect-state-by-brandon-sandersonTitle: Perfect State

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Series: N/A

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3/5 stars!

The Overview: God-Emperor Kairominas is lord of all he surveys. He has defeated all foes, has united the entire world beneath his rule, and has mastered the arcane arts. He spends his time sparring with his nemesis, who keeps trying to invade Kai’s world. Except for today. Today, Kai has to go on a date. Forces have conspired to require him to meet with his equal—a woman from another world who has achieved just as much as he has. What happens when the most important man in the world is forced to have dinner with the most important woman in the world? -Goodreads

The Review:

With a 3 star (I liked it but I didn’t love it) rating, Perfect State claims the spot as my least favorite Sanderson to date. In the whole scheme of books on the market, it was still a good read, I just happen to like all of Sanderson’s other works a bit better. What I liked most about the novella was that it made you think. It was very cleverly conceptualized and crafted (the concept for Perfect State – a permanent virtual reality experiment – was nifty). I even liked the characters, but unfortunately didn’t find the main one relatable. At all. Which is probably what kept me at arms-distance throughout the whole story. Overall, I’m glad I read it and will definitely recommend it, but only to those who have already read some of my favorite Sanderson works.

Normally, this is where I’d recommend comparable titles by other authors, but Perfect State only reminded me of a conceptual hodgepodge of Sanderson’s other works, specifically these ones:

by Niki Hawkes

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Novella Review: Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brandon Sanderson

shadows-for-silenceTitle: Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Series: The Cosmere

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: When the familiar and seemingly safe turns lethal, therein danger lies. Amid a forest where the shades of the dead linger all around, every homesteader knows to follow the Simple Rules: “Don’t kindle flame, don’t shed the blood of another, don’t run at night. These things draw shades.” Silence Montane has broken all three rules on more than one occasion. And to protect her family from a murderous gang with high bounties on their heads, Silence will break every rule again, at the risk of becoming a shade herself. -Goodreads 

The Review:

If you only read one novella from Brandon Sanderson, Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell would be my top pick (by a smidgen – they’re all awesome. And really, why would you limit yourself to just one?). It’s just one more example why Sanderson is one of my favorite authors – his novellas are every bit as good as his full-length novels. I loved this one because it had the perfect mix of characterization, setting, story, pacing, action, and resolution. It felt like a snippet out of a fully developed novel, but was self-contained enough to stand complete on its own. Silence, the main character, really struck a chord with me – her decision-making during the most intense scenes of the story still have me reeling months later. I want to get into the nitty-gritty details and geek out about all of them, but I can’t discuss it to my satisfaction without spoilers. So just take my word for it – this is definitely worth reading! :-)

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Arcanum Unbound by Brandon Sanderson

November 22, 2016

Title: Arcanum Unbounded

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Series: The World of Cosmere

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: November 22, 2016

The Overview: Brandon Sanderson’s first story collection: novellas and short stories set in the Shardworlds, the worlds of Stormlight, Mistborn, Elantris, and more. Originally published on Tor.com and other websites, or published by the author, these wonderful tales convey the expanse of the Shardworlds and tell exciting tales of adventure Sanderson fans have come to expect.

 The collection will include eight works in all. The first seven are:
“The Hope of Elantris” (Elantris)
“The Eleventh Metal” (Mistborn)
“The Emperor’s Soul” (Elantris)
“Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania, Epsiodes 28 through 30” (Mistborn)
“Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell” (Threnody)
“Sixth of Dusk” (First of the Sun)
“Mistborn: Secret History” (Mistborn)

Arcanum Unbounded will also contain a currently untitled Stormlight Archive novella which will appear in this book for the first time anywhere!!!!! -Goodreads

Waiting on Wednesday
Hosted by Breaking the Spine

I love Brandon Sanderson books so much that I’m almost as excited about this compilation as I would be for a new novel. First of all, the short stories that I’ve read from it (The Emperor’s Soul and Shadows for Silence) were amazing, so I am thrilled to have them in a beautiful hardbound copy to add to my shelves. Second of all, there are all NEW STORIES that I haven’t read yet that will hopefully help hold me over until the new Stormlight Archive book comes out next year. I’m definitely going to have to fudge my 1500 for 1 book-buying ban to pick up a copy of this one ASAP! :-)

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

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Series Review [So Far]: Mistborn 4-6 (Wax and Wayne) by Brandon Sanderson

The Wax and Wayne Series [So Far]
(Mistborn 4-6)
by Brandon Sanderson
4.75/5 stars

I’m a huge Sanderson fan, and these latest books in the Mistborn saga are just three more very compelling reasons why he’s one of my favorite authors.

If you aren’t familiar with the Mistborn series, here’s a little more about it: Sanderson originally meant to tell the story across three trilogies (a high fantasy, a contemporary, and a science fiction). The first set (Mistborn 1-3) was published between 2006 & 2008. Somewhere along the way, while working on a plethora of other projects, Sanderson got a wild hair and decided to add what I’m calling a “bonus” series – a set of four books that focus on the characters Wax and Wayne. This bonus series, set a few hundred years after the first Mistborn trilogy, is a fantasy/mystery hybrid set in an era resembling the 1920s. While these books are strong enough to stand on their own, readers would benefit from exploring the entire series in order of publication (starting with Mistborn: The Final Empire) to fully enjoy the rich history and nuances of character this saga has to offer.

This spoiler-free review will focus on the Wax and Wayne series (thus far) as follows:


The Alloy of Law:

I really enjoyed this novel and thought it was a great introduction to both the new era and characters within the Mistborn saga. The characters all caught my attention right away with their interesting backstories, but Sanderson really only scratched the surface of their depth in this first book. The mystery was also engaging, but it’s not until the next few books where you see how it ties in to the arc of the saga as a whole. Overall, The Alloy of Law was a light first read that’s entertaining and worth your time… but you ain’t seen nothing yet!

4/5 stars


Shadows of Self:

After finishing Shadows of Self, I was certain it would be my favorite of the series, it was that good (and yet IT GETS EVEN BETTER in the final book). It not only brought in a fresh mystery that clearly tied into the overall arc of the series, but also offered a glimpse into a few characters’ pasts. Strength of character is easily one of the trilogy’s best elements, and I particularly appreciated the chance to learn more about each person’s quirks and inner motives. This book is when I knew for certain that Wayne, the loyal sidekick of the story, was my favorite character because a) he’s hysterical and b) it was fun to see him in his element (incognito, doing very serious detective stuff… wink wink). Also, as hinted at earlier, there’s a point in this novel where things start to tie back to the original trilogy in a way that had all of my nostalgic meters beeping off the charts. But the tiebacks were subtle, which made them accessible to new readers of the saga. Overall, Shadows of Self was a very strong work filled with mystery, action, humor, and a few surprises that might just knock your socks off (I’m still looking for mine, they flew so far).

4.75/5 stars


Bands of Mourning:

I could barely put Bands of Mourning down. Every single last page was engaging and exciting, culminating towards an ending that had me stalking the author for news on the next one (which is on hold for a couple years while the author finishes up Oathbringer, the third book in the Stormlight Archive series, and incidentally the only series I’d be okay with postponing this one for – can you say amazing?!). What stood out to me about Bands of Mourning, aside from the obvious aforementioned character depth, world building, excellent action scenes, and spot-on pacing, was that it felt like Sanderson had an absolute blast while writing it. It maintained its serious base plotlines while at the same time managing to be positively hilarious. I laughed out loud for what felt like most of the book while still reveling at all the twists and turns. Sanderson gets yet another A++ for execution on this one, landing it not only as my favorite book of the series so far, but one of my favorite books of all time!

5/5 stars!


Overall, is this bonus Mistborn trilogy worth your time? Definitely. Fans of the series will enjoy the continuation and delight in the new characters while newcomers will (hopefully) be intrigued enough to go back and see where the saga started. I consider Sanderson a must-read for any fan of the fantasy genre, and this latest set of books are no exception!

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes