Monday, October 26, 2020

Maia's 12 of 12

Another day from Maia's perspective.

Other posts in this series: Part I | Part II

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Friday, October 23, 2020

Review Day: Long Light by Paige L. Christie

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Long Light is Book Three of the four-book series, Legacies of Arnan, by Paige L. Christie (I also reviewed Book One and Book Two). This story decisively belongs to Kilras, who was easily my favourite supporting character in the previous books. We learn (in a mostly sequential manner) of his growth from a child in a specific village to the empathetic caravan master that eventually befriends Cleod.

It would be too easy to dismiss it as "just a prequel" (in spite of the vexing fact that Book Three ends without any closure about the climax of Book Two) -- Kilras' journeys across Arnan also serve to introduce new people, customs, and factions that have only been hinted at. This adds some "epicness" to the consequences of Leiel's, Cleod's, and Kilras' decisions and breaks away from the mostly-regional perspective we've been given so far.

This broadening device reminded me a little of the recalibration required with Janny Wurt's Wars of Light and Shadows, where everything we learn in previous books has a deeper interpretation as the camera steadily pulls away from the seemingly simple tropes introduced at the beginning. I expect that future rereads of the Legacies of Arnan series will be just as rewarding.

Long Light is structured very similarly to Wing Wind, with an emphasis on one character's evolution instead of the future-facing plot. I wondered why I devoured Kilras' story so quickly yet struggled when the same structure was applied to Leiel in Book Two, and came to two conclusions: (1) Kilras remained enigmatic enough in the early books to have a lot of blank canvas to cover here and (2) Kilras' introspective musings are swirled into a revolving backdrop of interesting cities and situations, while Leiel's growth was more contained to a single location, so it was often the only thing happening for pages.

The bottom line: Book Three worked completely for me. I enjoyed the journey to this point enough that the forthcoming conclusion, Storm Forged, will definitely be a release-day purchase.

Final Grade: B+

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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken six years ago, on October 21, 2014.

We were vacationing in Seattle and briefly stopped by McChord Air Force Base to visit Anna's sister, Emily, on our way out of town. I still sport the mark from my pool accident a month earlier in the Outer Banks.

In the evening, we drove south in the rain to Lake Crescent Lodge, where we sat in the old lodge drinking wine, playing Scrabble, and listening to old jazz records.

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Monday, October 19, 2020

List Day: 10 Things I Did on Staycation

  1. Fall super-cleaning of the whole house.

  2. Rearranged two bedrooms.

  3. Moved a file cabinet full of 24 years of life's detritus into the basement.

  4. Repaired a broken sink pivot bar.

  5. Fixed a leaky tub cartridge.

  6. Hung new pictures on the walls.

  7. Ordered out for dinner 4 times.

  8. Solved 19 puzzles in Puzzle Boat 7.

  9. Started and finished the book, Long Light.

  10. Unraveled 0 new streamers in Paper Mario: Origami King because there are too many random battles slowing down progression.

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Friday, October 16, 2020

Review Day: Wing Wind by Paige L. Christie

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Wing Wind is Book Two of the four-book series, Legacies of Arnan, by Paige L. Christie (I also reviewed Book One). I enjoyed the first book for its uplifting themes, well-developed relationships, and effective use of time jumps.

Wing Wind continues to evolve the childhood friends, Leiel and Cleod, into their 20s and 30s, and thankfully deepens their relationships with wonderful supporting characters like Kilras and Gahree. While the pay-off here is excellent (I immediately started Book Three after completion), the order of how the story is told had me struggling to gain momentum in the first half.

With Draigon Weather, I felt like I was watching the author solve a jigsaw puzzle blind by picking random pieces out of the box and placing them exactly where they belonged, resulting in a surprising, satisfying conclusion. The structure of Wing Wind is more like doing all of the edges first -- and while the edges are necessary, I already know that the interim result will be a rectangle and I'm much more interested in finding out what's going on in the unexplored middle.

In this case, the first half of Book Two sequentially explores Leiel's evolution between two major events in Book One. This section is foundational to the choices that Leiel makes later, but it didn't surprise or excite me as much as I hoped it would. I'm glad I stuck with it though -- once the story catches up in time to the final moments of Book One (around the 60% mark on Kindle), the action explodes and the reveals pile up.

The writing continues to crackle throughout the story. The conversation that concludes Chapter 48 is horrifically awesome and forced me to recalibrate my expectations for the next books. This is not a series that will play it safe and hew close to the familiar baseline it established upfront (and sometimes, I'm in the mood for a book like that!) -- it will continue to grow beyond the original blueprints, much like its thoughtful, compassionate characters.

Final Grade: B

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