Saturday, November 14, 2009

This morning I finished Warbreaker by Branden Sanderson.

This is the second book I've read by Sanderson, and while this book is not as good as his first, Elantris, it still feels very fresh in the somewhat stale fantasy field.

Not set in the same world, at least as far as I can tell, Warbreaker has to do with a brewing war between two countries, one weak and one strong. The strong one is so mainly due to magic derived from Breathe, something all individuals possess and that can be exchanged and hoarded and used to animate the inanimate, under certain conditions. The weaker power rejects the use of this magic, on religious grounds.

At the start of the novel, one of the royal daughters from the weaker countries is being married off to the stronger one. Once she gets there, along with a sister that follows her surreptitiously, the intrigues that might lead to war are explored.

It's a good book. The ideas are fresher than most fantasy, but the characters are not as strong as his first book. They sound, and act, like very modern Americans rather than people from a different world and this breaks down the suspension of disbelief somewhat.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I finished two books in the last few days - The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King.

The Green Glass Sea is a YA book about two girls growing up in Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. Both are social misfits and end up being friends. It's an enjoyable book, with some very sad moments as one of the girl experiences terrible losses. The characters are less generic than a lot of YA characters, although the kid without parents present is almost a cliche.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is about a baseball loving nine year old who wanders away from her family and gets lost in the woods. It shows that King hasn't lost his ability to write compelling narratives, even if his ability to accurately portray a nine year old girl is very weak. His characters that are teens or adults feel much more real than this girl - I had to constantly remind myself that she was supposed to be nine.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Last night I got to see Devo at the Regency Ballroom in SF.

On this tour, they are doing two nights in each city. Night one, they play the entire album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We are Devo! Night two, they play Freedom of Choice.

We decided to just go see the second night. It was a fun show, after a weird opening act. Though it was short, since they only did one album plus two encore songs, it was very satisfying. The high points for me were Gates of Steel and the closing Beautiful Life (with Booji Boy!).

I hadn't been to this venue before and it was quite nice. From their website, they tend to get rock/metal acts, so the security presence was a little heavy for the older/calmer Devo crowd.

Also, the only tickets available were "Meet and greet" tickets, so I got to hang around afterwords and speak to the band briefly and got pictures with the Casale brothers, as well as signatures on an old band picture and a poster. They are supposed to be working on a new album, and hopefully they will tour for that as well.