I ♥ Fantasy: Sykes & Rothfuss

It’s been while since I’ve written a post on my favorite reads and since I know a few of you who actually take my reading advice, I figured I’d catch you up. This edition is dedicated to the fabulous first timers.

Tome of the Undergates by Sam SykesTome of the Undergates: The Aeons’ Gate Book One by Sam Sykes. My brother found this book in the dollar bin at his library and their loss has certainly been our gain. When he finally got around to cracking this sucker open he was pleasantly surprised. Then, like a good bro, he passed the goodness on to his favorite (and only) sis. I’m amazed to say that this fast-paced, well-written, creatively-detailed adventure is Sykes’ first book. It’s about an unlikely team of mercenaries who are paid by a priest to retrieve a very special tome. The tome has accidentally fallen into the hands of demons and with it they plan to open the gates of hell. The fate of the world hangs on a cowardly thug, a priestess with a limb of death, a young wizard, a dragonman, a female feline/human hybrid, and their dwarf leader who seems to have a split personality. Their journey sweeps you up from the very beginning and by the time you’ve read all 486 pages you won’t know where the time went. The cliffhanger ending with definitely leave you jonesing for more and luckily Sykes has provided us with just that. Aeons’ Gate is a three-part series with Black Halo and The Skybound Sea following. From what my brother has said, the other two books are not as good because our merry band of misfits gets broken up so the enjoyable banter is lacking. Nevertheless, he still rates them fairly high. Tome of the Undergates is a 5 star read from the Hazard clan so for the fantasy lover who enjoys interesting characters and a fair smattering a carnage, you can’t go wrong.

Here’s one of my favorite passages from page 440:

…Lenk brought the axe down again. “I’m having difficulty understanding women.”
“Ah, yes.” Denaos scratched his chin. “The eternal question on two legs that only gets more annoying with every passing thought.” His hand drifted lower, scratched something else. “Fortunately for you, I’m something of an expert on the subject.”
“No doubt, ” the rouge replied. “What do you want to know?”
“I suppose…” Lenk’s hum hovered in the air as he leaned on the hatchet’s handle, staring contemplatively out at the forest’s greenery. “Why?”
“The best place to start,” Denaos said, nodding. “Well, to understand women, you must first understand their place in the world. And to that end, you must first know how they came to occupy this world alongside us.”
“The theories vary from faith to faith, but here’s how it was explained to me.” He cleared his throat, sitting upright as though he were some scholar. “The Gods first created man and gave to him their gifts. From Daeon and Galataur, we received the art of war. From Silf, we received the talent of deception. And from Khetashe, as you know, we received the urge to explore.”
“Go on.”
“But there was a difficulty. Mankind lacked purpose. There was no reason to go to war, no reason to lie, no reason to wander far and wide.”
Denaos shrugged and lay back. “And then the Gods created women and suddenly everything made sense.”

Okay, now on to the pièce de résistance: Patrick freakin’ Rothfuss! Holy s#@t, there’s just no way it’s humanly possible to write two back-to-back books this awesome the first time around. How? How Rothfuss? I want to know. This is literary crack. Do yourselves a favor and immediately get your hands on The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One and The Wise Man’s Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two by Patrick Rothfuss.  Just do it, you’ll thank me copiously by giving me your first-born (no thanks, that won’t be necessary). This is a double Hazard 10 out of 5 stars (if that were possible). I finished The Name of the Wind about a year ago and The Wise Man’s Fear probably three months ago and now I’m practically peeing myself waiting for the third installment. I’m not even going to try to explain the plot but you can preview the books in the links I’ve given you.

Funny story. Last week, me and two of my co-workers were discussing the books we’ve read recently. Alex mentioned that he just finished the best book and Erin expressed the same sentiment about one she had just finished. Come to find out, it was the exact same book: The Wise Man’s Fear. We all had gotten ourselves completely hooked independently. Now Alex keeps asking me if I know when the final installment, Doors of Stone, is coming out. For now it remains a frustrating mystery. We all agreed that if the wait is much longer, we may have to read the series again just to tide us over. You have to check out the review of Doors of Stone by the author himself on Goodreads. It’ll make you chuckle.

Speaking of books that have left us wanting more, the sequel to Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings is just days away from being released. Come March 4th, Words of Radiance will be in my excited little clutches. Words cannot describe my anticipation. I literally called in sick to work because I couldn’t put The Way of Kings down. Yup, I’ve got a problem and I suspect it’ll get worse before it gets better.

Last but not least, for those Ender’s Game fans out there, I begrudgingly watched the movie last night and was over the moon to see that they stayed true to the book (at least as much as a movie can). And just like in the book, I was crying like a wee baby by the end.