The Books I’m Most Excited to Buy in 2018

Okay so the book situation at my house is a little out of control. I say a little, because really, I do have it under control. It’s not a hoarders situation, there’s just twenty, maybe thirty, okay, fifty, books that don’t fit on any of my bookshelves. But it’s fine. I’ve totally got this.

So while I’m once again technically on a book-buying moratorium (moment of silence here, please), there are a few books I’m irrationally excited to purchase in 2018. Therefore, I will be buying them despite the ban on adding to my collection. Because I just can’t not read them!

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

VICTORY COMES AT A PRICE.

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all . . . starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolish everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power . . . for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

They call him father, liberator, warlord, Slave King, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the war-torn planet, his armor red, his army vast, his heart heavy. It is the tenth year of war and the thirty-third of his life.
 
A decade ago Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk all he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?
                  
And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever: 
                  
A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp, and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined.
                  
An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy—or pay with his life.
                  
And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the Sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.

Red Rising was the story of the end of one universe. Iron Gold is the story of the creation of a new one. Witness the beginning of a stunning new saga of tragedy and triumph from masterly New York Times bestselling author Pierce Brown.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. 

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

What begins as a manhunt for the missing daughter of a wealthy tech billionaire becomes something altogether different when the young woman’s body is discovered in an abandoned warehouse in Kew Gardens, Queens, the head nowhere to be found. It appears there may be two killers on the loose–one responsible for the young woman’s death, another responsible for the mutilation. A pair of such dastardly killers requires a team of equally talented investigators. Luckily, both Vincent D’Agosta and Special Agent Pendergast are back in town.

D’Agosta hopes that working a case back on his home turf for the first time in years will reinvigorate the FBI Special Agent and give him an opportunity to flex his investigative might. But neither is prepared to face a killer–or killers–as diabolical as this. It will take all of Pendergast and D’Agosta’s intelligence and strength simply to match wits–let alone stay alive.

 

The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin

Just putting it out there that GRRM is going to pull a Beyonce and just drop the next Game of Thrones book at our feet in 2018 with no warning.

Throne of Glass #7 by Sarah J. Maas

The conclusion to the Throne of Glass series, the title, cover, and description haven’t been revealed yet. This book is slated for release in Fall 2018.

Which book are you most excited to buy (and read!) in 2018? Tell me in the comments below!

An Evening With George R.R. Martin and Kim Stanley Robinson in Review

I have to start out this review by saying Tylar, you’re the real MVP! I can’t believe I was actually able to attend this event. It sold out so fast, but my friend Tylar was able to score tickets for this great event at our alma mater, UCSD.

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Before the event, I was wondering what it was going to be like. George R.R. Martin was clearly the main event and why most people bought their tickets. I wondered how Kim Stanley Robinson felt about that. I imagined that maybe they were going to bring Stan out first and then have George talk.

What they did was actually even better. They had both authors sit down with one of the professors from the UCSD literature department (not a professor I knew from when I was there) and they discussed various topics for about 45 minutes before answering questions from the audience.

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I’m sure you’re reading this to hopefully a) find out when the next Game of Thrones book is coming out or b) find out spoilers for the new season of Game of Thrones. And I’ll get to some of the more specific answers George gave, but first I want to talk a little more about the evening in general.

George definitely dominated the evening. He talked much more than Stan and always had a ready answer for the moderator. But I think that’s a difference in personality. Stan was much more reserved, but seemed like such a nice guy. Like the type of guy you wished was your own grandfather because you just wanted to give him a hug and hang out with him.

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I’ve only read one book by Kim Stanley Robinson, The Years of Rice and Salt, and sad to say, I didn’t like it very much. But after this event, I think I’ll check out the Red Mars trilogy and the Three Californias trilogy, one of which I guess he wrote while he was a student at UCSD. I had also added his new book, New York 2140, to my book wishlist before the event when I saw it on a list of upcoming dystopian novels. I had no idea Stan was a UCSD alum before this event – super cool!

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I will say I surprised by how smart and how well-read George was. I mean, I know I shouldn’t have been surprised. Game of Thrones is fantastically complex and clearly the man behind it is a genius. I guess I didn’t expect that to translate to verbal ability. Color me impressed. George knows the history of literature as well as any professor. He keeps up with the awards and who’s writing this or that. It was really amazing to hear him speak, he is a brilliant man.

In no particular order, here are a few tidbits I got from the evening:

-A big topic of the evening was the discussion of genre fiction and its place in relation to literary fiction. George was obviously representing the fantasy genre and Stan was representing the science-fiction genre. George told an interesting story that I’d not heard before. It concerns Henry James and Robert Louis Stevenson and basically sets the stage for the distinction between genre fiction being seen as not “serious” literature. You can read that Henry James essay here.

-George and Stan talked about movie and tv adaptations of their writing. George said that Peter Jackson and several others had approached him previously to turn Game of Thrones into a movie, but George always wanted Game of Thrones to be a tv show. He’s very happy that HBO picked it up. He wishes he could have gotten 13 hours per season like most HBO shows prior to Game of Thrones, but the sheer cost of the production is what kept all of the previous seasons to just 10 episodes.

-George talked about why it’s taking him so long to write the next Game of Thrones book and just finish the story in general. He said that it’s due in part to his age and also due to the fact that he feels enormous pressure to complete the story in a way that fits with everything that has come before. In short, he’s struggling against his own perfectionism. He does consider Game of Thrones to be his magnum opus and he wants to do right by his millions of fans.

-Also, George is only 68 guys. He looks older, but 68 is positively spry.

-As you can see from my pictures, George wore his George R.R. Martin uniform: cap, suspenders, and jacket despite the fact that it was mid-80’s all day and no cooler in the ballroom.

-George has got jokes guys. He’s a funny, funny man. The audience asked him whose death he most regretted. George: JFK

In short: If you get the opportunity to go see George R.R. Martin talk, take it. If you get the opportunity to take Kim Stanley Robinson out for a cup of coffee, take it. Thank you to UCSD, Clarion Writers’ Workshops, and the Arthur C. Clarke Center for organizing a great event!

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A Dance With Dragons

By George R.R. Martin

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance — beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone — a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

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Another great entry in the ASoIaF series. Paralleling the events of book 4 for much of book 5, the end of A Dance With Dragons also further advances the story overall.

This was one of my favorite books in the series because my favorite characters were some of the viewpoint characters: Jon, Dany, and Tyrion. And finally, we get a little bit more Cersei, a character whose head I just love to be in.

Some of the plot points in this book are major game changers. Some of the twists really turned where I thought the story was going on its head.

It’s also interesting to watch the current series having so recently finished the last book. This season is setting up even more plot departures and none of them bother me. You can really see that what makes for good writing doesn’t always make for good tv. It’s not that the show writers are improving on Martin’s story so much as providing an alternate, but equally acceptable way to get from A to B.

I will be anxiously awaiting The Winds of Winter like everyone else. I can’t imagine Martin wrapping up this massive story in just two more books, but we’ll see.

A Feast For Crows

A Feast For Crows by George R.R. Martin

After centuries of bitter strife, the seven powers dividing the land have beaten one another into an uneasy truce. But it’s not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters of the Seven Kingdoms gather. Now, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed while surprising faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—emerge from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges of the terrible times ahead. Nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages, are coming together to stake their fortunes…and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the survivors.

Many, many people have said this was their least favorite GoT book. I can understand why, but I also really enjoyed it, as I have all the other books. Note to self: don’t attempt to read this book when you’re not planning to have at least several days of nothing to do, but read. Otherwise it might take you nearly two months to read it…

Dany and Tyrion and Jon aren’t viewpoint characters in this book, which makes it a little sad I suppose. But I enjoyed having Cersei as a new viewpoint character, even if I was only convinced that unlike Jamie, there’s really nothing to like about her. She’s about as kind and good as her son, Joffrey.

I would love to have Loras and/or Margaery Tyrell as viewpoint characters at some point. I hope this happens.

I found the Brienne storyline and the Dorne storylines less exciting, but necessary.

All in all, this was a good addition to the series, but I’m looking forward to the next book, which has a large focus on Dany, Tyrion, and John. Unfortunately, I need a little break. I don’t think I can stand to read the same book for another two months again. Plus, then that’s the end of the series as it is now. Got to break up my wait time to the next installment…

 

A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. And as opposing forces maneuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by a horde of mythical Others—a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords…

Many people say this is their favorite of the entire series….I would say this is the most shocking of the series. If you’ve seen the television series you know…it sucks to be a Stark.

This book manages to be more violent and more shocking than even the others. The world expands still further as Daenerys continues her travels, John presses northward towards Mance Rayder, and the people of Dorne to the south put in an appearance.

I loved having Jamie Lannister as a viewpoint character…such a good choice. Again, we have the awesome Tyrion, Dany, and John as viewpoint characters. I also liked Ser Davos and Sam.

As always, Martin astounds me with his skill at weaving a story, the complexity of the narrative, the deviousness of the characters, and the perfect delivery of dialogue and events.

The series does a great job adapting this book. It covers so much incredible and important material, the book was split into two seasons. The first half just finished airing. It was as well-done as the other, minus the Theon Greyjoy stuff. Random liberties that aren’t exactly advancing the series, but merely just making everything uncomfortable. Torture porn? Ew.

All in all, it’s a good season for a Red Wedding.

Since I’m not talking much about the events of this book, leave me a comment down below about how you liked it. If you don’t want spoilers, I would avoid the comments!

A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over and age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard’s son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King’s Landing. Robert’s two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.

A Clash of Kings transports us into a magnificent, forgotten land of revelry and revenge, wizardry and wartime. It is a tale in which maidens cavort with madmen, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside.

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory may be measured in blood. And the spoils of victory may just go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel…and the coldest hearts. For when rulers clash, all of the land feels the tremors.

I eagerly started this sequel to A Game of Thrones….and wasn’t disappointed. This novel enriches the story, while complicating it still further.

Tyrion and Dany remained my favorite characters. Other viewpoint characters I enjoyed: Theon Greyjoy, John Snow, and Ser Davos. I enjoyed Arya’s storyline, but I find her rather annoying as a character. I know a lot of people love her, but I just don’t.

I loved seeing Tyrion in his new role as Hand of the King and following Dany and John, as they explore the East and the North, respectively. Jaqen H’ghar was another great character introduced in this book. As always, I enjoyed the scheming of the Lannisters.

The tv series also makes a good run of this…the Battle of the Blackwater was amazing.

I don’t want to give away too much, but if you’ve read the first book in the series, you should definitely continue on with this one!

Since I’m not talking much about the events of this book, leave me a comment down below about how you liked it. If you don’t want spoilers, I would avoid the comments!

A Game of Thrones

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (Book 1 in A Song of Ice and Fire)

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

It’s been a couple years since I actually read this book, but as I’m attempting to read book 4 (big book, little time=very slow progress), I decided to go back and write a review. I had originally planned to review the series all at once, but plans change.

I first began this book on audiotape. My boyfriend at the time and I were going camping in Big Bear and we started playing it in the car to pass the hours.

I was immediately intrigued by the opening passages about the white walkers. My interest grew from there. Once we got back home, I drove to the bookstore and bought the book because I had to read the rest. We’d only gotten about a hundred or so pages in, so I still had a lot to read.

And yes, the audio book is also good.

This book introduces you to a huge cast of characters, a sprawling world, a complex history, a war of religions, and almost anything else you can think of. Tyrion was my favorite character in this book, a spot he still retains. I also love Daenerys.

Despite the immense size of the book and the steep learning curve of the world-building, this first entry in the spectacular series is engaging, accessible, and immensely entertaining. George R.R. Martin is quite a writer. Always, I found my jaw literally dropping at the perfection of the placement of some particular phrases or events. Yes, the series is raw, bloody, horrifying, and full of sex. But isn’t life?

After I finished the book, I moved on to the show. Also, so perfect. Peter Dinklage is the most perfect Tyrion. He somehow made the character even better, improving on perfection.

Seriously guys, if you haven’t managed to read the books or watch the show, get on it. Pronto.