Reading the Wheel of Time: In Caemlyn You Can Be a New Man in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Part 11)

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Hello again, The Wheel of Time fans! Can you believe we’ve already reached Week 11 of Reading The Wheel of Time? In some ways it has flown by, and yet in others it does seem like it has been quite the journey to get here. My feelings mirror Rand and Mat’s this week: together we have all reached Caemlyn, which has been such a huge goal for a good portion of the story now, and yet is only a tiny piece of the whole journey. The boys, particularly Mat, are feeling the toll of it this week, but we, from the safety of our couches and armchairs, are feeling the excitement of a book that feels like it’s just about to ramp up the action again. Will Mat and Rand find a safe place to rest in Caemlyn? Will Moiraine, Lan, and Nynaeve be able to catch up to them? ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: Moiraine Vs. Elyas in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Part 8)

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Welcome back! We are now in week eight of Reading The Wheel of Time, and like last week, we are drifting through a hazy lull, like the quiet before the storm. In this section, covering chapters 27 and 28, Perrin and Nynaeve are feeling anxious and frustrated, while Egwene and Elyas are patient and Moiraine, as ever, follows the Pattern and plays things close to the vest.

I really enjoyed the feeling of these two chapters. Just like the previous section, these chapters are a pause in the pacing and a chance to set up for the next round of action. We the readers are like Egwene, dancing with the Traveling People and enjoying ourselves, because this may be the last opportunity we have to do so. (Well, we the readers get to enjoy the bad things too, but that’s our privilege as beings on the other side of ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: Memories of What Was Lost in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Part 7)

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Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to manage a story once the party divides? I remember the first time I read The Lord of the Rings as a young person (I think I was nine?) and being incredibly frustrated at each change of perspective once I got to The Two Towers. You’d spend so much time with a set of characters, sinking into their journey, and then you’d be dropped at a cliffhanger and move to a different group for the rest of the book. I hated having to wait so long to have the suspense resolved. Thinking about that now, though, a big chunk of time spent with each group might be preferable to the way The Eye of the World has been jumping perspectives each chapter. I don’t know why but it makes the pacing of the story feel a little jarring to me.

That ...

Reading the Wheel of Time: Nynaeve “Comes Out” in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Part 6)

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Welcome once and again to week six of Reading The Wheel of Time. In this installment, I’m going to cover Chapters 21 through 23, and I’m really excited because we’re moving into chapters that are told from different characters’ points of view. And I have to say, I am really enjoying the change in perspective. Rand is a fine character, but I haven’t felt very connected to him, at least since the group left the Two Rivers. I’m really enjoying the shake up, and it feels like the story is broadening as the perspectives do. I hope we eventually get to spend time with each of our heroes.

Chapter 21 finds dawn awakening Nynaeve and her horse as they sleep near the bank of the Arinelle. Nynaeve is cross with herself for falling asleep, thinking that she could have “awakened in a Trolloc cook pot,” but as she thinks back ...

Reading The Wheel of Time: Mistrust Fractures the Fellowship in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Part 5)

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Robert Jordan has talked about how he intended for The Eye of the World to include some reference and homage to Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and since these resemblances have often been remarked upon (sometimes positively, sometimes less so) by readers, it seems fitting at this moment to circle back around to the themes I addressed in the first week of this read. Then, we talked about questing stories and the formation of a fellowship. Now, it is time to talk about what happens when that fellowship is inevitably broken.

Welcome once again to week five of Reading The Wheel of Time. I’ve always really loved the Mines of Moria section of The Fellowship of the Ring, and I think that Chapters 19 and 20 of The Eye of the World just might be my favorite to date. Something about the world-building for Shadar Logoth really ...

Reading The Wheel of Time: Dreams and Prophecy in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Part 4)

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The use of prophecy and fated destinies is pretty intrinsic in epic fantasy. The tradition of prophecy as a plot device in western storytelling goes back at least to the Greek epics, if not farther, and although different authors have different approaches, the theme of characters having a glimpse of the future and choosing if and how to be motivated by it runs through many of today’s great fantasy tales. But the idea of time and existence as a turning wheel adds a specific flavor to Jordan’s universe, and it’s one I’m very interested to see play out.

Welcome back to week four of Reading The Wheel of Time! I’d like to do something a little different this week; I won’t be covering any new chapters, instead I’d like to look at the dreams Rand has had so far, as well as exploring what we know of the prophecy of ...

Reading The Wheel of Time: Fiery Magic and Icy Distrust in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Part 3)

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Dramatic irony is a tool used by authors, often to increase suspense or to set the scene for a future action, in which the audience knows something that the characters don’t. Like when Romeo doesn’t get the message about the Priest’s plan and thinks Juliet has actually died, but the audience knows the truth and can only watch, helpless, as he kills himself to be with her. Dramatic irony can be employed in a variety of ways in stories, but sometimes an aspect of dramatic irony can be created that is outside of the author’s control; like if you’re watching an action movie and the hero thinks the bad guy has been defeated but the audience knows there’s still almost an hour left in the film, guaranteeing at least one more battle scene. Or when Mat decides that he and Rand and Perrin have escaped the Draghkar, “if it was ...

Reading The Wheel of Time: A Boy Leaves Home in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Part 1)

Welcome to the first installment of The Reading of The Wheel of Time! I’m Kelsey Jefferson Barrett, and despite my lifelong love of high fantasy and the fact that I have fantastic librarian for an aunt who was largely responsible for my education in both science fiction and fantasy, I somehow never managed to pick up any of The Wheel of Time books before now. So rather than a reread, this series is going to be me reading Robert Jordan’s novels [insert dramatic announcer’s voice here] For The Very First Time!

I’m going to try to avoid spoilers in these articles as much as I can, but feel free to talk spoilers in the comments. That way those who already know and love The Wheel of Time can have fun of watching my reactions as I discover the mysteries, the characters, and the magic of these books. This week’s installment ...

The Grisha Trilogy Reread: Ruin and Rising, Part Three

RuinRising Well my friends, this is it: the last installment of the Grisha Trilogy Reread. I forgot how much more there was to get through in Ruin and Rising, so I hope you all don’t feel like I’ve glossed over too much. There’s so many themes coming together here at the end, still more death and loss, questions about fate versus choice, and the idea of power and long life weighed against an ordinary existence.  

Chapter 13 – 14: Summary

The group agrees to split into two; Mal and Alina will travel into the Sikurzoi with Zoya, Harshaw, and Tolya, to look for the firebird while the others find a place to stay in one of the nearby settlements. Misha is upset at being sent away with the others, but Alina watches Mal talk to him, complimenting him on his bravery during the Darkling’s attack and explaining about how ...

The Grisha Trilogy Reread: Ruin and Rising, Part Two

RuinRising So what do you call a love triangle with four players, instead of three? A love rectangle? Maybe some kind of three-pronged love star? I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the ships for Alina and the Darkling, Alina and Nikolai, and Alina and Mal. When you look at reviews for The Grisha Trilogy you see a lot of discussion about this topic, and while sometimes people’s favorite relationships are just between the two characters that they like best, there’s a lot of debate out there about who Alina belongs with.  Who is the best match for her, as it were. And I think that this question is more interesting for Ruin and Rising than it is for a lot of other YA novels and series, because so much of Alina’s life is about fate. The chance of being a Sun Summoner, the way in which the amplifiers change ...

The Grisha Trilogy Reread: Ruin and Rising, Part One

RuinRising Welcome back once again to The Grisha Reread! It’s kind of hard to believe we’re already on the third book, kinda like it’s a bit hard to remember that it’s only been two years since Alina unleashed her power on the Fold to save Mal’s life. I always have trouble keeping track of timelines in the novels I read, but I’m pretty good at tracking symmetry. Let’s see how that sacrifice and that love work out for our intrepid orphans in part one of Ruin and Rising.  

Prologue – Chapter 3: Summary

In the prologue of Ruin and Rising, we find the boy and the girl trapped in the White Cathedral, part of the Apparat’s secret tunnels. Prevented from seeing each other, the girl feels herself devoured by the darkness, leaving only the Saint behind. And the Saint is broken, weak and sickly, trapped by the Apparat despite ...

The Grisha Trilogy Reread: Siege and Storm, Part Two

siegestorm-cover Oh my saints, Vasily is an annoying person, even before he destroys the country. But you all knew that. Welcome back to the Grisha Trilogy Reread for part two of Siege and Storm. It’s time to sit through long political meetings, make alliances (for good or ill) and have the best laid plans of man and Grisha laid to waste by jealous idiots. This is a long one folks. Things are getting real in Os Alta.  

Chapters 13 – 15: Summary

Alina, Mal, Tolya, and Tamar walk down to the Little Palace, where they find a group of Grisha waiting for them, including Sergei, the Corporalki who had been Alina’s guard for a time when she was there the first time; Marie and Nadia; Zoya, Alina’s squaller nemesis; and David, the Fabrikator who fashioned the collar for the Darkling. When she explains that she has the King’s blessing to ...

The Grisha Trilogy Reread: Siege and Storm, Part Two

siegestorm-cover Oh my saints, Vasily is an annoying person, even before he destroys the country. But you all knew that. Welcome back to the Grisha Trilogy Reread for part two of Siege and Storm. It’s time to sit through long political meetings, make alliances (for good or ill) and have the best laid plans of man and Grisha laid to waste by jealous idiots. This is a long one folks. Things are getting real in Os Alta.  

Chapters 13 – 15: Summary

Alina, Mal, Tolya, and Tamar walk down to the Little Palace, where they find a group of Grisha waiting for them, including Sergei, the Corporalki who had been Alina’s guard for a time when she was there the first time; Marie and Nadia; Zoya, Alina’s squaller nemesis; and David, the Fabrikator who fashioned the collar for the Darkling. When she explains that she has the King’s blessing to ...

The Grisha Trilogy Reread: Siege and Storm, Part One

siegestorm-cover Welcome back to another week of Grisha infighting, political intrigue, and fancy mythical creatures brought to life (and then immediately killed). It’s The Grisha Trilogy Reread! This time we’re covering the first half of Book Two: Siege and Storm. I think my favorite thing about Siege and Storm is how we get more main characters in the story. In addition to Alina, Mal, and the Darkling, we get to see much more from Alina’s Grisha friends and acquaintances, we get a brand new mysterious frenemy who is also a pirate who is also a prince!  

Prologue–Chapter 4: Summary

The Before section of Siege and Storm opens with the boy and the girl fleeing across the sea in a ship. The sailors like the boy, but they find the girl, who is quiet and solemn when awake and then screams in her sleep, deeply unsettling. She dreams of destroyed skiffs ...

The Grisha Trilogy Reread: Shadow and Bone, Part Two

shadowbone-cover Hello and welcome back to the second half our our reread of Shadow and Bone, the first book of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy. Today we’re going to pick up where I left off last week with Chapter 14 and go right on to the epilogue. Looking back on last week’s reread, I was thinking about the characters that didn’t get much or any of my attention; characters like Zoya and David and Ivan, who are important to the book, but moreso to the series in general than in Book 1. All three of those characters come up in this week’s reread, but they still don’t seem as important to the themes of the book and Alina’s journey as they could be. Or maybe I’m just too busy fawning over the parallels between Alina and Genya’s circumstances and trying to decide how much sincerity lurks beneath the Darkling’s lies and ...

The Grisha Trilogy Reread: Shadow and Bone, Part One

shadowbone-cover Hello there, Tor dot readers, and welcome to the reread of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy! I did the reviews for the first two books here on Tor.com, so I’m pretty excited to be back to enjoy them a second time with all of you. This post will cover chapters 1 through 13 of the first book in the trilogy, Shadow and Bone. Obviously there will be spoilers ahead, including mention of events that occur in later sections or later books as I consider craft and foreshadowing and things like that. So, what is it about these books that so many people love? Is it the characters? The Russian flavor added to the fantasy world? The elemental powers of the Grisha? Or something else? I remember how much I loved the books when I read them, but it has been awhile, so this question is one of the things that ...

Slinging Drinks and Slinging Magic: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, Paul Krueger Are you one of those people who feels awkward around bartenders? Are you embarrassed because they clearly know so much more about alcohol than you do? Or do you perhaps you get the feeling, as they serve you up the perfect gin gimlet or rye old fashioned, that this smiling purveyor of all things intoxicating has an amazing secret, and that you should be humbled to even be in their presence? If you answered yes to these questions, I can tell you that your instincts are spot on. If you didn’t, well, you should take another look at that tip percentage, friend, because Paul Krueger is here to let you in on a little secret. Bartenders are secret super heroes, and Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge will tell you the whole story. Technically this review doesn’t even belong on Tor.com, because this is a science fiction and fantasy ...