Book Reviews: November 2018

November was a reading month that satisfied my nerdy heart. Star Wars and Stormlight, what more could you want?

  • Ricky Tim’s Convergence Quilts by Ricky Tims

  • Educated by Tara Westover

  • Darth Vader Comics by Kieron Gillen

  • Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archives #2) by Brandon Sanderson


RICKY TIM’S CONVERGENCE QUILTS BY RICKY TIMS

I have no intention of making one of these quilts any time soon. I'm still "working" on my first basic t-shirt quilt, which is all squares and straight lines. My goal is to finish is before the decade is up. I picked this book, and a few others, up from the library in the hopes that it would inspire me to work on said t-shirt quilt. So far I’m still procrastinating…

The book was easy to understand, intermediate or advanced quilters should have no issues following his instructions.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars



EDUCATED BY TARA WESTOVER

Educated is a memoir that speaks to the power of education, independence, and knowing your own worth.

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I was suspicious of Westover before reading this book, because I read a lot of reviews that doubt her. (I normally avoid reviews before starting a book.) By the end of Educated, though, I believed her story. It’s certainly flawed, but powerful.

The marketing for this book is slightly misleading. Sure, going to college and getting an education completely changed Westover's life. But the main focus of the story is her relationship with her father and how it affected everything. Her father was abusive, her mother was an enabler, and they both enabled her horrible brother, Shawn.

There were many things that didn’t seem like full lies, but were weird omissions. I was over 200 pages in when suddenly it was mentioned that there were women working for Tara’s mother. A google search showed that the Westovers own Butterfly Express Essential Oils. (One article I found said it employs over 30 people, but I’m too lazy to go back and find that link.) I understand that she didn’t name the company for legal issues, but it made me wonder if that was how she managed to afford school? Grants only cover so much and her parents certainly weren’t portrayed as supporting her financially, but maybe it was more than she let on. She was clearly able to learn on her own, along with several of her siblings, so it seems like her parents gave her the basic ability to reason and grasp concepts, even if they failed by traditional standards.

To summarize: I believe Tara when she talks about her dad’s issues and all the abuse she suffered. Perhaps she’d have told this story better with some distance and a few more years of therapy, because sometimes I couldn’t get a read on her emotions. It seems like she’s still processing everything, and I certainly wish her the best as she continues moving forward. Educated is a validating story to people who may be suffering (or have suffered) abuse.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars


DARTH VADER COMICS (#1-25) BY KIERON GILLEN

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Prior to this series, I had never read any of the Star Wars comics. I know some people really hate that Disney killed the EU, but let's be real, it was very bloated and contradictory. Aside from a few standout series, there was just so much it was hard to know where to start. Most of my EU adventures were in the YA novels, like the Jedi Apprentice series. I still love those, so I'm happy to have my old favorites but have a new, consistent Star Wars canon timeline.

Anyway, since this series is considered canon and I've heard good things, I decided to try. And OH MY GOD. It is so good. These 25 comics take place between episodes 4 and 5 and overlap with some content from other comics. (Which I have not read, so I do have gaps in what happened, but I still enjoyed these just fine without stopping and switching to the other series.)

The art is amazing, especially when something is being conveyed in Vader's mask and body language without words. My favorite part is just how much of a badass he is. Vader has always, always, forever and ever, until death do us part, been my favorite fictional character. You know that end scene in Rogue One? And in Empire Strikes Back, when Luke is getting his ass handed to him? THAT'S the Vader in this series, and I love it, and I am sexually attracted to it.

One or two editions were slightly more boring than the others, and occasionally there would be panels that I thought needed some more text, but overall this series is a great addition to the Star Wars galaxy.

Rating: 5 of 5 stars


WORDS OF RADIANCE (THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE #2) BY BRANDON SANDERSON

***WARNING: This whole review is varying degrees of spoiler-y.***

The second book of The Stormlight Archive series, Words of Radiance (WoR), picks right up from where the action left off in The Way of Kings (TWoK). Kaladin, Dalinar, and Shallan all know something different about the forces that are coming back into the world. They must rush to get ready and trust each other, because the Everstorm comes.

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I took a break from this series after reading TWoK, mainly because book #4 isn’t coming out until 2020 so I wanted to drag it out as long as possible. Around mid-November, I could wait no longer!

There’s so much to say about a 1,300 page paperback, but I’ll try to keep this concise. I enjoyed this one just as much as TWoK, plus the pacing was more consistent. TWoK took about 600 pages to get started but WoR jumped right back into the story. It was a good mix of world building and plot, a lot of which was helped by the interludes - particularly Eshonai’s. Her introduction and subsequent chapters were really powerful.

As far as the characters go, Kaladin is probably still my favorite - the grumpiness didn’t really bother me because this is only #2 of 10 books, I figure he needed to get it out his system for the sake of character growth. My favorite chapter was when Kaladin fought alongside Adolin, EVERYTHING about that fight was perfect.

“Honor is dead…but I’ll see what I can do.”

I liked Shallan much better after getting her backstory. And aside from that one chasm scene - you’ll know it when you read it - her snarky little comments didn’t annoy me as much as they did in TWoK. In WoR, she was capable and independent. I did miss having Jasnah around as much, though, and the Dalinar POV.

WoR had more humorous moments than the first one. Every scene with Wit was great, but there were several parts without him that got me to crack a smile while reading. (I usually read with a RBF.)

In a nutshell - please read this it is amazing omg.

Rating: 5 of 5 stars