Mistborn – Brandon Sanderson

Vin is a street urchin who happens to have a bit of Luck – it’s what’s enabled her to survive in the streets of Luthadel.     After a near disaster where she uses her luck on the wrong person, she meets Kellsier.   He’s the one person to have escaped the Lord Ruler’s most terrible prison, because he’s Mistborn, controlling the powers of Allomancy, where certain metals give abilities to those able to use them.     He tells Vin that her luck is actually Allomancy, because she is also Mistborn.

So, Vin’s brought into a plot to overthrow the Lord Ruler, who has ruled over the entire world for a thousand years, cloaking it in ash as punishment for its sins, and enslaving most of the human race.    It’s a mad plot, with no chance to succeed, but Vin stays simply because of the amazing men she’s met that are also in on the plot, and because she just wants to see what will happen next.

One of the things I look for in fantasy books is different kinds of magic – I love an inventive source, and Allomancy fits that bill.    I also really love the characters – this is an ensemble piece, though Kellsier and Vin are the main characters, and the side characters are every bit as interesting as they are.    This series (yes, I’m on to book two) has definitely cemented Sanderson into my must read everything this author puts out list.


Pemberley – Emma Tennant

I realize I’m asking a lot when I want my Pride and Prejudice sequels to measure up to Jane Austen’s original.  I mean, she is Jane Austen, and she had a very singular way with words.

Now, the ones that really bug me are the stories where the author goes for High Drama, in a way that doesn’t fit the original story.   I mean, there is High Drama in P&P with the whole Lydia and Wickham episode, but it’s still understated, and wrapped up in a neat little bow by the end.

In this sequel, Elizabeth has decided to invite her mother and sister Mary to Pemberley for Christmas.   It’ll be Mrs. Bennett’s first visit to Pemberley, partially because Elizabeth has been dreading how her mother will behave.    And that is confirmed by her mother immediately inviting the rest of the family to come along as well.   (Definite point against the author here – the final chapter of P&P clearly states that Wickham was never allowed at Pemberley, yet he shows up with bells on in this book.)    Plus, Lady Catherine de Bourgh shows up, and there’s a sub plot with a mysterious child in the village.

But the thing that really bugged me is that Darcy and Elizabeth just weren’t talking.      I just could not buy this story as an accurate continuation.    It’s going straight to the donate pile.

The Battle of Evernight – Cecilia Dart-Thornton

In the last book in the series, our heroine had finally found her true identity – Ashalind na Pendran, who had run free from the lands of the Faeran when the gates that connected that fair land and the land of mortals were closed and bound by the orders of the Raven Prince, younger brother to the King of Faerie.   Unfortunately, both the King and his brother were caught on the mortal side of the gate, and have been trapped there for a thousand years.    Ashalind is their only hope to find the way back into the Faeran realm, but that part of her memory is still clouded.

Unfortunately, she’s also been separated from her true love, Thorn, due to a rather unfortunate volcanic eruption that’s destroyed the sanctuary he had sent her too.    Having gained the knowledge of her true nature, she decides to also gain the knowledge of the gate that only she can find, that will reopen the link to the Faeren realm.

The language is still gorgeous, and the lands that Ashalind and her two friends Viviana and Caitri, wander through are wonderfully drawn.     The final battle between the Raven Prince and his brother is also impressive.

I will admit, the ending fell apart for me a bit.   It’s one of those that goes on for way too long, and then ends too abruptly.    I was apparently not the only one that felt that way, as the author added a note of clarification after the hard cover edition was published.    Still, the series was really amazing, and I’m happy to have stumbled across it.

Garden Notes

So I’m on vacation this week, but I’ll be posting pretty much nothing of any interest, because I managed to come down with a nasty head cold, and have spent most of the week on the couch, surgically attached to a kleenex box.

One of the last things I did before lethargy completely claimed me was clean up the front garden bed.   I actually pulled the peas out two weekends ago, but only found the time to go get some mulch on Monday.    Pre-mulch, there was more crab grass then you can shake a stick at, and it was hard to get all of it when the pea trellis was still there.    Hopefully, I can keep out the worst of it for the rest of the season.

I’ve already decided for next year that I’m going to rip out the remaining hosta, and move the iris over to that spot.    That’ll mean moving the peas (if I do them again) over in front of the clematis, but there’s definitely room to work with there, and getting the iris out will free up room for more things.

Speaking of the clematis, for the most part, it’s been very well behaved, and stuck to mounding the top of the trellis.    I had one escapee try for the cable wires, but was easily able to remove it before it went too far.

I can now report that I have ripe tomatoes!    Well, one of these (the Juliet paste tomatoes), and one of the cherry tomatoes.    It’s a start at least.

I did give up on the pepper plant, and went ahead and pulled it out.    It had barely grown at all, and while there was one pepper developing, I decided I’d rather cut my losses and just get rid of it.    Once I get some energy back, and I’m going to plant that planter with arugula and maybe some cilantro.

The Lady of the Sorrows – Cecilia Dart-Thornton

In the first book of this trilogy, a youth was discovered, mute, and disfigured outside Isse Tower.    Through the course of that book, the youth discovered she was a she, and went on adventures throughout the lands of Erith.    Near the end, she met a Diannen warrior named Thorn, and fell madly in love with him.    He brought her to a wise woman that was able to bring back her face, and her voice returned at the same time.

Now, the young lady, using the name Rohain, because her real name was still lost to her, has journeyed to the court of the King-Emporer in Caermalor, so that she can report the treasure she found, which by rights, belongs to the king.    She’s also hoping to find Thorn there, hoping that now that she has her real face back, he might love her.

And, there is still the mystery of her true identity, which is solved at the end of this book.

I’m really enjoying this trilogy – the books are beautifully written – just the descriptions of the scenery are so incredibly evocative, and she even manages to make the descriptions of the dress of the lords and ladies at court interesting.

There are also a ton of fairy tale references in this book – some much more obvious than others.    The author actually lists her inspirations at the back of the book, and while I had picked up on many of them, there were a number I had not heard of, and I’m excited to have this bibliography to track down.

I’m already about half way through the next book in this series – I really needed to see how it would end.

Beauvallet – Georgette Heyer

Sir Nicholas Beauvallet, one of the favorite knights of Queen Elizabeth I, meets the lovely Dona Dominica de Rada y Sylva when he raids the ship carrying her and her father back from the New World to Spain.

On a whim, he brings the two back to Spain, and vows that he will be back in Spain within a year to win the lady’s hand in marriage.   Never minding the fact that England and Spain are at war, and that there’s the small matter of the Inquisition going on.

Now, I fully understand that I should not be reading historical fiction (especially one veering off into the category of romance) looking for complete historical accuracy.    And, I read Heyer because her stories are delightful, and just plain fun.     But this one pretty much strained credulity.    I don’t know – I just found the whole thing over the top ridiculous.

Mind you, I did finish it.

CSA 2012, Weeks 5 and 6

Yeah, I’ve been bad about recording the CSA this year.

Last week (another bad picture week)’s haul was: basil, new potatoes, baby carrots (real ones!), lettuce, frisee, zucchini, peas and scallions.

This week’s haul (above) was: peas, lettuce, new potatoes, tomatoes (yay!), zucchini and yellow zucchini, carrots, and scallions.

I also had my first harvest of Brights Lights chard out of the garden, as well as the last of the peas I grew.   Ah, peas.   I do wish they would last longer, but they are so lovely while they’re there.

Lady Knight – Tamora Pierce

Keladry of Mindelan is finally a knight, and with war with Scanra on the horizon, she journeys north, expecting to see battle.   Instead, she’s assigned as the commander of a refugee camp.    Even she has to admit it’s a job she’s perfect for, but she feels like she’s not doing enough to help the battle against Scanra.

The Scanrans are using terrible machines that are powered by the spirits of dead children, and kill many before the Tortallans are able to overpower them.    What no one else knows is that during the Ordeal that made her a knight, the power behind the Chamber of the Ordeal spoke to Kel, and gave her a vision of the mage building the machines.

Kel knows she should be out finding the mage, but her duty to the refuges keeps her in Haven, until a terrible attack, where all of Haven’s children are kidnapped.   It’s up to Kel to save them.

This is a fitting ending to this series, where Kel has always stood up for the little guy – two hundred children kidnapped for such an evil purpose are pretty much the ultimate little guy.     And it’s very sweet how many people are willing to help her, when in the beginning, no one wanted her to be a knight.

On a final note, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised that Kel didn’t get paired off by the end of the series.    Not that I have a problem with this (Pierce is great in the pairings that she does do), but it’s refreshing to see a girl with a goal who realizes that a permanent relationship at this point in her life isn’t what’s best for her.