Today I’d like to talk to you about some books I’ve been enjoying recently. These will typically be from a handful of genres, with an effort to consistently include at least one fantasy element. While I likely won’t do this every Thursday—I’m not an incredibly fast reader, and I have some other topics in mind—I’d like to try it today. These will be spoiler-free, unless disclaimed otherwise.
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson continues to amaze me in Words of Radiance, the second installment in the Stormlight Archive series. His exploration of philosophy and morality through magic and wit is stunning and always leaves one wanting. The plot flows easily from the previous installment, and the character flashbacks are handled masterfully.
The inclusion of spren throughout the series is something else I wanted to touch on. Coming to greater value in the second installment, these elemental creatures are forces of nature and emotion designed to reflect life around them, pursuing individual sentience and freedom on the world of Roshar. These strange creatures burst with storytelling flavor and potential, and they are handled with care throughout the tale. While there is obviously a great deal of lore behind the spren that I have yet to learn, they already intrigue me and lighten the darker tones within the text.
I touched on Brandon Sanderson in an earlier post, talking more in-depth about his style of storytelling and influence. You can view that here.
All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Secondly and something I have not yet spoken about, I recently picked up the historical fiction novel All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. The story follows two children battling through very different lives in 1940s Europe. It examines the occupation of France by the Nazis, the subsequent coastal bombing by the allied forces, and the jarring environment in the heart of Nazi Germany. Specifically, it looks at the role of radios in Nazi propaganda, with one of the protagonists, Werner, fascinated by electromagnetic radiation. At the same time, Marie-Laure, the story’s other main character, is blind and must navigate the world through cognitive brilliance and secondary senses. It is easy to see here the genius of the titular concept, which only grows more and more clever as the tale progresses.
The story also touches on the surplus of greed and the striving for wealth following the Great Depression. This is mainly shown through the eyes of an antagonistic character, who searches desperately for a diamond he believes will save his life.
The parallel stories of Werner and Marie-Laure eventually coalesce into one, as is common with these types of things. Overall, Doerr’s present-tense prose and attention to detail have proved masterful every step of the way. He is well on the way to becoming one of my all-time favorite authors.
Dæmon Voices by Philip Pullman
Lastly, I recently picked up Philip Pullman’s Dæmon voices: On Stories and Storytelling. One of my all-time favorite authors, Pullman continues to amaze me with his subtle humor, rich views on natural life and philosophy, and attention to detail in storytelling. I don’t have much to say about this book at the moment—I only just started—though I hope to be finished by next week or the week after. I’ll talk more in-depth about it then.
How about you? Tell me what you’re reading and what you like or don’t like about it. Have you read any of these? What did you think? I firmly believe that the journey of reading is never over, and hope to use this blog as an outlet for recommendations and positive thinking concerning literature. Either way, I hope this proved helpful.
Nai aurelya nauva mára!