A Realm Beyond Clouds

My thought of books I read.

Reading Bingo update.

I think I'll update every month.

 

I have Warbreaker as the book with more than 500 pages and Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World as Non Fiction.

 

On YA I have Finnikin of the Rock as a book set in another world.

Almost excellent reading experience.

Warbreaker - Brandon Sanderson

I want to reduced a bit of a star for such a short epilogue but I can't. I just know that I want more of this. I want to read more. It was the first book of Sanderson that could do this to me. To me, reading a book about 500 pages in english within 4 days is such an amazing speed. Normally, for a book of this length it would consumed me at least a week.

Warbreaker is a second book I finished this year, also the second High Fantasy setting book. And although I could fully admit that I'm quite a fan of Sanderson, this is the first of his book that earns 5 stars rating from me.

Speaking of the writer called Sanderson, the first thing that comes to our reader's mind would be Magic System. In Mistborn, he presented us the Allomancy, the power to burn the metal and turn it to various power. In Warbreaker we have BioChromatic, A power to awake things and manipulated them. While it was as creative and unique as anything I would expect from Sanderson, the magic system in Warbreaker feels more lively and delicate. I like the concept of Breath that let us control things and its variety of usage had broaden the scope of magic to beyond our reach. Sense and perception that changes when people gains more Breath induced wild imagination and add more subtlety to the narration. BioChromatic weaved through the culture, spiritual beliefs and politics smoothly and seamlessly, accentuate Sanderson's remarkable ability to craft the world. The fact that magic is much more than a device for action scenes is one thing that show his big improvement as a writer.

Political intrigue in Warbreaker improved a lot from what presented in Mistborn. It's more matured, not a child play anymore. It was ready to deceive us, the reader, if we're not careful enough. I like the fact that this book is more political focus rather than usual action-packed novel like Mistborn the series. The political trope Sanderson used might not very new to me, yet it was able to grab me and twist my head sometimes. Though not very significant, but there are some subtle subversions in his political intrigues I quite admired.

Characterization is what I think Sanderson has improved a lot too. Though mostly character started out as archtypes, they were gone through the circumstance and changed somehow. Also noted that character's personalities and voices feels much more distinguished than those from Mistborn. Not only that, his writing also improved to make sure that the reader can access to character's mindset without using too much internal monologue as Mistborn tends to depend on.

I didn't like Siri at first. In my eyes, she is an overused rebellious princess. Yet once she arrived Halladren, I grow fond of her more and more. Siri is not that rebellious. She understood the situation and ready to adapt anytime. And her broaden-minded help her get through any circumstance in the God King's court. I also adore Susebron too, he was very cute guy I want to cuddle in my arms. I also shipped both of them like a crazy fan girl, even though they were official couple. Sanderson is the first male author from the western side of the world who could write a couple that have me really root for. Both of them is very cute together. Vivenna and her character development has to be highlighted. She started from a pompous, stubborn princess. Then started to see another side of the things she believed to be evil. The way she conflicted between her own beliefs and the things she actually see is very interesting to read. I love that Sanderson is dared enough to pushed Vivenna into the downfall and let her learn her lesson through her failure. I also like Lightsong. His story arc was humorous to read and his character as carefree but concerned is very likable.

Pacing, I like the technique he used in this book. Mysteries that open from one story arc solved in another. Each story arc slowly observe conflicts in each perspective, then those arc swirling into each other in the last arc and blended together. The way Sanderson placed conflicts between each steps and slowly picked them and wrapped them up along the way. It's not like the standard story in the classic version of plot graph. The climax is not that peak, yet it make me feel excited enough to turn another page to read. 

Writing in this book, though a bit stiff in the first few chapter, after I read pass 1/3 of the book it didn't hinder me from enjoy the story. Since I know that lyrical prose is not the things Sanderson was capable of, such trivial matter is not bother me at all.

Overall, I give this 5 stars :)

PS. At first, I hesitated on picking up The Way of King since it has 1000 pages long and promise us another 8000 pages of sequels. But after finished Warbreaker, I think I'll eventually picked it up within this year if I cleared at least a half of my stack.

PS 2. Sorry if there are a lot of grammatic error. I still have to practice a lot.

I've found this from here.

 

http://www.retreatbyrandomhouse.ca/2014/01/reading-bingo-challenge-2014/

 

Sound interesting, right? Well, count me in!

 

 

Reblogged from My Reading Nook:

[Book Challenge] Day 7 - The Most Underrated Book

Reblogged from A Realm Beyond Clouds:

 

There are a book, self-published in the country that reading not widely popular. A splendid story concealed itself beneath its ugly cover. It's not popular because the cover and almost no advertising. This book called "ตำนานอาณาจักรแห่งมนตรา"

[Book Challenge] Day 6 - A book that makes you sad

Reblogged from A Realm Beyond Clouds:

 

I feel really sorry about discontinuity, well, let's begin anyway.

 

The latest book that made me cry is My Sweet Orange Tree. Zese's childhood is really sad. He is a very smart boy, sometimes too smart for everybody around him, even his family, to understand. In their eyes, Zese is just a naughty boy. That's why he had to make an imaginary friends with the orange tree behind his house. And then he befriended with the Portugal man, the only adult who finally seems to understand him the most. This man became his orange tree, became his guidance, his protecter. Yet their time is too short. At the end, Zese lost his best friend forever. I can't help shed my tear.

Pumpkin Carvings Inspired by Books

Reblogged from Bookish Quotes:

Harry Potter

 

Frankenstein

 

Gone with the wind

 

The Hunger Games

 

Twilight

 

Harry Potter

 

The Lord of The Rings

 

Source: http://www.abookloversdiary.com/2012/10/20-pumpkin-carvings-inspired-by-books.html

[Book Challenge] Day 5 - A book that makes you happy

Reblogged from A Realm Beyond Clouds:

 

Every Jane Austen's books I've read. Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Northanger Abbey. Other than those there are Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in the earlier chapters, Chinese novel named Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles Peach Blossom, Thai Novel called Dragon Delivery and Daemon Bakery. 

[Book Challenge] Day 4 - Favorite book of your favorite series

Reblogged from A Realm Beyond Clouds:

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I think, in overall series, this book has the best pacing, has the good dynamics and it is a turning point of the series.

[Trying to be Trendy] Divergent

Divergent - Veronica Roth

 

Ironically, I like writer's interviews and writer's comments better than the actual book. Many aspects of Veronica Roth in those are interesting. However, many points reflected from her writing didn't reach profoundness as I hope it to be.

 

If Roth's ideas were based on psychological experimental and psychotherapy of phobia and those ideas inspired Dauntless, I think Roth did it quite great. I don't think that courage of Dauntless is something stupid. Each training has its own reasons. To be brave, one must be trained to confront many patterns of fear. Before we could be brave to protect others, we have to be brave against our own fear, so Dauntless had to train both physically and mentally.

 

The problem started at this point. Because I don't like to read action scenes or fighting scenes (very strange for one who also like Wuxia genre, I daresay). The book focus on Tris training to be a member of Dauntless faction, which took place around a half of the book. Certainly it was full of fighting scenes, action scenes which appeal most of reader but make me bored instead. Well, I have no problem for action scene if it help makes story progress. I didn't mean the scene that make the story move forward, but the one that make the story reach to the point or to the conflict of the story. For this book, I think those action scene is too long for story progression.

 

The next problem is labeling this book as dystopia.

 

From the writer's interview on the back of this book (My version, the Thai version) Roth said that she wrote this world like her Utopia, however, it's couldn't be that ideal, which is no surprised. Dystopian world, in my opinion, must contains some backgrounds base from our society, some aspects or events that has a tendency to distort our society and make it corrupted. The story has to accentuate that point to drive the story in a manner of social commentary. However, to divide people into factions based on the virtue you worship... well... I don't think normal people would worship only one virtue and neglect others. Mostly we worship many of them and each society has different approaching to practice those virtue. At the end, what virtue to be worshiped, which methods used to approach it, the authority is the one who decided.

 

For me, this book is an action-adventure novel, told us a story about power struggling between faction on the world that seemingly a dystopia. If you try to find any meaning of dystopia from this book, you would be disappointed. If you just read for entertaining, this book is a big okay. And due to the interview I mentioned, Roth didn't design it to be a dystopia from the start *me laughing*. The problem is just how publisher marketed this book.

 

The writing, I guess from the translation, is easy to read and quite clear. I hope the original script is as beautiful as I believed.

 

Tris, the main protagonist, has something in her that make me related with. She wasn't good in everything, but smart and surviving. Tobias is quite interesting, though I know from the start that which faction he came from. Too bad, I didn't feel much chemistry between them.

 

The ending is cliffhanger. If I finished it and really like it, I might  instantly go to the bookstore now and buy the sequel. But I didn't like it that much. And since people said that the last book ended unpleasantly, I think I would rather read spoiler instead.

[Book Challenge] Day 3 - Your Favorite series

Reblogged from A Realm Beyond Clouds:

 

I have many choice to write about. My childhood favorite series is undeniably Harry Potter. I believe any young people of my ages became devoted fans to this series, too bad I could see many flaws in them and my love for Potter had declined. So I would move to another series that I love, it was Wuxia (Chinese martial arts) series called Demi Gods & Semi Devils (天龙八部), masterpieces of the best Wuxia writer ever. I also love Kino no Tabi, Japanese Light Novel series. Too bad, the publisher who got the license had shut down and no other publishers seems interested to continue translated this series.

[Book Challenge] Day 2 - A book that you've read more than 3 times

 

Mostly the books I have read more than 3 times were those I read in my childhood. The first book that came across my mind is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It was one of my favorite book in the series. Since Thai edition of book four was delayed for years or two, I have read book three over and over again since it was my favorite out of three available books.

 

I would like to include another book but I saw that there is a challenge on Day 21. So I will talk about that book on that day instead.

The King of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #3) - Megan Whalen Turner

Challenge Accepted! I have photoshopped new image especially for this challenge.


Day 1: Best book you read last year

 

Last year I have read many books, almost all of them are written or being translated in Thai (My native language), but I also continued reading English books after halted for a year or two.

 

The book written in Thai language that intrigue me the most last year called 'The Storyteller นิทานจักรวาล' written by Lawit, one of my favorite Thai authors all the time. It is sci-fi, but mostly focus on dysfunctional social, when the world's resource ran out, human adapted DNA to created new races who was able to live in another planets to worked for them on harvesting resource. Those new races later freed themselves from slavery. The story is about a journey of Mitr, young man from the lowest class of the Earth, who being selected to be a specimen for another races in the facade of 'special ambassador'. Later on, when Mitr discovered the truth, he took an escaped and then begin his role of a Storyteller.

 

It was a book I wish that one day world would recognized. This book, though it was her the earlier work, is quite perfect for me from almost every aspect. The story is great. The ideas are original. The writing, for Thai language, is as beautiful as any modern Thai writer could writes.

 

The best book in English I read last year is 'The King of Attolia'. It was the third book of Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. After struggled many problems, at last, Eugenides married with the Queen of Attolia. However, Attolian seemed hardly to accept new King from the former foe Country. Gen had to proved himself to everyone that he was suitable for this role and get himself out of the trouble many of his attendances caused him.

 

I love this series mainly because Eugenides is a very smart main protagonist. I have a soft spot for this kind of heroes.To see him make some schemes and executed them is very enjoyable for me. The ending makes me jaw dropped, and it became my favorite simply because of this reason.

[Reflection] Life is not always like in novels

Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen

I don't have mood to write a review, my reviews on Goodreads is very short, though. Since BookLikes is more like book blogs so I'd rather blog this book instead.

 

Catherine Morland, fourth daughter of a well-respected family, had infatuated with Gothic novels, fancied herself to be a heroine of the novel. On her journey to Bath and then to Northanger Abbey, a Gothic building she hoped to discovered its mysteries, consequently improved her fancy judgement toward the reality, which not anything like what she supposed them to be.

 

For me, novels is more likely a set of events that hardly occurred in one's life. They were full of excitement, take the reader on a colorful flight to another land, escaped the dull reality in a blink of time.

 

It's not that some events in novels can't happen in real life. Though I have never such an event before, my mother told me a lot of things that seems likely to be real only in novels. My mother herself, when she was young and was participating in a protest which led to massacre, had run through rain of bullets, carried injured friends to the ambulance. My grandmother, born in a rich family, eloped with my grandfather and break off with her family. However,  consequences of those events didn't as well ended as in the novels. The tragedy my mother once took part in now remained only a memories which not many people choose to acknowledge. And my grandmother never be forgiven by her family; in her funerals, only a relatives of my grandfather attended.

 

Sometime in my life I might face such events, so it's good to remind myself that happy endings is not to be expected. Thankfully, our Miss Morland finally earned her happy ending, and soothed our desperate heart from mostly disappointed moments in our life.

 

PS. Sorry for my very poor grammar. I'll improved them every now and then.

I want BookLikes to add Kinokuniya and Asia Books as another search options. Too bad, Kinokuniya has very poor search engine.

Wuthering Heights - John S. Whitley, Emily Brontë

[Migrated from Goodreads]

This book is hard to review. It was decently written with an excellent tempting plot and pacing, yet it was so depressed and hopeless and almost haunting. 


The story settled in the remote town in York, secluded from the outer world and confined within its own world which one like us hardly comprehended. It's not a love story. Totally NOT a love story. I won't ever put this on romance shelf as general has classified. Most of the story is about Heathcliff, a vengeful man who endlessly seek for his revenge. More or less, his process in fulfill his goal is very disturbing. Yet his love for Catherine, his playmate is very passionate and almost pitiful. These tale is narrated by an old maid of Wuthering Heights, while she had not describe more or less than she ought to see. It's quite clear for the reader to understand overall situation.

Like many people said, almost every character is not likable. Heathcliff is the worst male protagonist I've ever met. That doesn't mean he was a bad character. His characterization is remarkable, but his behavior, as a person who lived in the world, is very wicked and miserable. Catherine, the senior, is very disagreeable. Nelly is rather weak and pitiful and lack of will power to do anything better to improve the situation. Other character from Thrushcross Grange is just okay, and more miserable to being liked. Only character I have a good opinion with is Catherine junior, she has what a some high spirit with resolve to rise the mood of the story a bit, yet not high enough to lift its intense away.

I really admired Emily Bronte to have such a courage to write this book. Also wonder whether her life is difficult so that she had to expressed all her agony into this one.

Not recommend for those of feeble hearts or those who thinks involving with devil's writing is an unforgivable sin. If you're not those people, then, welcome to Wuthering Heights.

PS. I don't like BookLikes searching system, I can't find an edition I finished in this website. So I choose the one I have.

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