An Incomplete Education

An Incomplete Education by Judy Jones and William Wilson. The book is large textbook size, with serious heft. I’ve been enjoying it as night reading, but noticed that I want to start skipping over things, so I think I’m done for a while.

Each chapter is 50-75 pages, and covers a topic like Philosophy, English Literature, or Economics. They’re written with a knowing, sly, sense: “of course, you just want to learn enough to fake it”, but they actually deliver some depth.

Well written and engrossing, I’m looking forward to hopping back after a novel or three and plowing on.

High King’s Tomb by Kristen Britain

Not the end of a trilogy, just the next installment.

The book starts off pretty strongly and keeps good momentum. It was a good solid read, nothing exceptional, but a nice continuation of Kerigan’s story. I liked a lot of the descriptions and increasing depth to the world, the additional details that twist the plot and tangle relationships.

Unfortunately, the book seemed marred by too many points of view– you got only a couple of chapters of progress from each character’s POV before it flitted on to the next. The extra viewpoints did a good job of showing the scope of what was going on– but I was always cheered when we returned to Kerigan and was disappointed when we wandered around watching most of the other characters.

I’ll look forward to the next book, but won’t be in any hurry. I’ll get to it, eventually.

High King’s Tomb by Kristen Britain

Not the end of a trilogy, just the next installment.

The book starts off pretty strongly and keeps good momentum. It was a good solid read, nothing exceptional, but a nice continuation of Kerigan’s story. I liked a lot of the descriptions and increasing depth to the world, the additional details that twist the plot and tangle relationships.

Unfortunately, the book seemed marred by too many points of view– you got only a couple of chapters of progress from each character’s POV before it flitted on to the next. The extra viewpoints did a good job of showing the scope of what was going on– but I was always cheered when we returned to Kerigan and was disappointed when we wandered around watching most of the other characters.

I’ll look forward to the next book, but won’t be in any hurry. I’ll get to it, eventually.

Specials by Scott Westerfield

The third book in the series, a sequel to Uglies and Pretties.

It’s a solid book, but the flashes of brilliance are harder to find this go. It’s probably because Tally’s “natural” persona is so subjugated at the beginning of the book– and partially because the Specials are annoying twits with a huge chip on their shoulder. While that makes it easy to root against them (when they’re being idiots), you do have to put up with them… and they wear on you much more quickly than the characters of the first two books.

As far as plot goes it’s a good book, and ends the trilogy with a world dramatically changed by the effects of Tally (and friends) over the trilogy. The world gets more complex in this world, and the depth makes it feel realistic, but the dramatic changes fight that complexity.

In the end, I’m probably being overly critical– it was a good book, a solid end to the trilogy– and I’ll read it after the first two when I reread the series. It might gain surprising depth on the reread.

4e links

Resources and Generators: Asmor’s Generators, Book of NPCs (v2), Chatty’s Tool Roundup, Kiznit’s Combat Crib Sheet

Character sheets and cards: iplay4e, Javascript character generator, Simple play sheet(pdf), and Dragon Avenue’s collection

WotC Site: 4e Errata, Compendium, and character builder.

Fan made: Greywulf’s Character of the Day, Catfolk and Ninja, Stored Rituals

Adventures and Other Resources: P3’s Campaign Starters, Forgotten realms wiki

Five Blades of Bahamut (a great custom setting by Chris Chinn) Setting Overview, Cults of Bahamut, Cults of Tiamat, Quest Seeds, Airships, Deities, Creation Myth, and Monsters

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

The second book of the series, a sequel to Uglies. Tally struggles with being a bubble headed pretty– it starts off with the terrible struggles in picking which outfit to wear, but soon Tally is engaged in far more dangerous events.

I like the continuation– Tally’s changes are meaningful, as is her struggle against the newly created limitations on her thoughts. Not everything is easy, but she manages through in the end. The book was great and was consumed in one lazy, beautiful day.

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

The second book of the series, a sequel to Uglies. Tally struggles with being a bubble headed pretty– it starts off with the terrible struggles in picking which outfit to wear, but soon Tally is engaged in far more dangerous events.

I like the continuation– Tally’s changes are meaningful, as is her struggle against the newly created limitations on her thoughts. Not everything is easy, but she manages through in the end. The book was great and was consumed in one lazy, beautiful day.

The Prize in the Game by Jo Walton

A decent book, but one I probably won’t reread. It’s set in the childhood of Elenn, and focuses on a year of her life and that of her sister and friends. It’s an interesting study, with meddling gods, thought out customs like fostering, and interesting relations.

It’s a fine adventure, in the same world as “The King’s X”, but completely disconnected from the two Sullien novels. It’s not bad, just not what I was looking for.

The King’s Name by Jo Walton

A solid successor to the King’s Peace. The book takes place over a much shorter period of time; the core of it is less than a month of action. The struggles are tough– it’s a civil war with families falling on opposite sides, all spurred by Morthu’s plotting and pride.

The overall plot is “inspired by” Arthurian myth, but there are a lot of interesting deviations that keep the book fresh. You can’t be sure how it’s going to turn out, given the number of subtle and obvious changes. She does a good job of setting up the situation and delivering an exciting story.

This is the end of the series: while there are three books in the world, The King’s Peace and The King’s Name are the two Sullien novels. The third novel, The Prize in the Game, is set elsewhere and in the recent past. [It is set in Tir Isarnagiri, in the childhood of Elenn.]

The King’s Name by Jo Walton

A solid successor to the King’s Peace. The book takes place over a much shorter period of time; the core of it is less than a month of action. The struggles are tough– it’s a civil war with families falling on opposite sides, all spurred by Morthu’s plotting and pride.

The overall plot is “inspired by” Arthurian myth, but there are a lot of interesting deviations that keep the book fresh. You can’t be sure how it’s going to turn out, given the number of subtle and obvious changes. She does a good job of setting up the situation and delivering an exciting story.

This is the end of the series: while there are three books in the world, The King’s Peace and The King’s Name are the two Sullien novels. The third novel, The Prize in the Game, is set elsewhere and in the recent past. [It is set in Tir Isarnagiri, in the childhood of Elenn.]