Required Reading: September

Ahoy there, look, it’s September!

Some of my book club friends received a very perky text message this morning about the fact that it’s September, and it’s almost Christmas1 and because it’s the start of one of our biggest buddy reads ever today as well. September to remember? :)

I’m just really happy that we’re onto a new month because August was kind of…interesting. Some things are a bit too personal to divulge, but in terms of reading, August has been one of those slump-y months. I read, but I was terribly slow, and I hardly made a dent with my TBR because I ended up getting more new books and reading them instead of reading the ones I already have. It’s a vicious cycle, I tell you. But first, recap of my August Required Reading list (none of which I have written reviews for yet, eep!):

  • Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin by Bob Ong (1/5) – Ugh. I shouldn’t have expected much, really.
  • Paper Cuts by Pam Pastor (2/5) – I read this and Bob Ong’s book in one weekend. Aaron had to ask me if I was torturing myself on purpose. Not that it’s bad, but it’s not my kind of book after all. More details when I sit down and review it.
  • Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal (3-4/5) – Haven’t decided on the final rating. Rating it 3 seems so low because this is like THE novel that spurred the revolution against Spain in Filipino history so my Filipino heart feels that I should rate this higher. But as a reader…it’s not really that amazing.

Interestingly, I think I read so many books by Filipino authors this month too! I’d like to think it’s because of the really awesome 2nd Filipino ReaderCon that drove me to get more local books. :) I still have several local books on my TBR shelf that I am pretty sure I’ll be able to read this year, and I’m quite excited about it. Maybe I’ll finally reach that 20 Filipino books goal!

My review backlog is still a backlog — let me work on that. :P

Now let’s move on to September!

Required Reading: September

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  1. Yep, we Filipinos start counting down to Christmas this early []


Warbreaker by Brandon SandersonWarbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
Gollancz, 652 pages

Warbreaker is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses, the God King one of them has to marry, the lesser god who doesn’t like his job, and the immortal who’s still trying to undo the mistakes he made hundreds of years ago.

Their world is one in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren’s capital city and where a power known as BioChromatic magic is based on an essence known as breath that can only be collected one unit at a time from individual people.

By using breath and drawing upon the color in everyday objects, all manner of miracles and mischief can be accomplished. It will take considerable quantities of each to resolve all the challenges facing Vivenna and Siri, princesses of Idris; Susebron the God King; Lightsong, reluctant god of bravery, and mysterious Vasher, the Warbreaker.

I’ve heard so many good things about Brandon Sanderson, but he was never really in one of my authors to-read-soon list. I have friends who are fans, but I never really saw enough reason to read him because…well, I’m not as much as a fantasy reader as my other friends are. Aaron gave me a copy of Warbreaker for my birthday, which I really appreciated for the very cool cover, but you know, I had no intention of reading it anytime soon. I know, I know — why wait, right? I don’t know really. But anyway, certain circumstances got me reading this book earlier than I expected to make up for some things that we don’t really have to talk about here. :P

Warbreaker is a story of two sisters. And a god. And another god. And a mysterious guy. Siri is the youngest princess in Idris who avoids responsibility but finds herself in the middle of one when she was sent instead of her sister Vivenna to marry the God King Susebron from Hallandren as part of a deal to save Idris from war. Vivenna sets off after her and finds conspiracies that shocked her sheltered world, and tries to start a rebellion even if she had no idea what she was doing. On the side, there’s Lightsong, the god of bravery who refuses to act like a god and believes that he really shouldn’t be one. And finally, there’s Vasher, a mysterious and powerful person whose real intentions remain a mystery until the end. These characters move in a world where people who die a heroic death get resurrected as gods to be worshiped by the people, where magic can be drawn from colors by use of a breath that can be harvested from a person one at a time.

It sounds absolutely fantastic, right? By fantastic, I mean, you know, fantasy. The world building in Warbreaker is solid. I was truly interested in how Sanderson’s world worked in Warbreaker, especially with colors and breaths. I thought it was cool thing to use for magic — everyday colors from surroundings can be used to make things move for you. I liked how it was tied with Breath, and how it was used and passed on and all that. I also liked the little intricacies, such as how members of the royal family has hair that changes color based on their emotions — the vain part of me liked this, although this meant that I can’t rely on my poker face for long. :P

I really liked how the characters were written too. I was rooting for Siri from the start, since she was more of my type of princess, but then Vivenna rose up and she made me love her, too. I liked Lightsong’s quips and Susebron’s personality (one of the surprising things) and Vasher’s mysterious vibe. Even the secondary characters were fun, especially the mercenaries that Vivenna worked with. I didn’t know who to root for, really, except for the five main characters, but I didn’t know exactly how they would all tie to each other until the major revelations in the end.

Warbreaker is not just a fantasy novel — it’s also a political one, dealing with how kingdoms work, threats of war and ulterior motives. I liked reading about these things, too, but I have to admit that it got a bit dragging at some point in the novel. I felt like it took a while before the action really happened, and it was probably why I lagged behind in reading this. If I wasn’t so invested in it already, I probably would’ve skipped some parts. It could have been shorter, I guess, or some parts of it could have been used to explain some of the lacking parts in the end. Warbreaker is meant to be standalone at first, I think, but the explanations at the end felt a bit rushed and lacking to really make sense of the history and the whereabouts of all the other characters.The ending wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger, but I thought the story begs for a sequel to answer all the questions left at the end.

Despite all that, I enjoyed reading Warbreaker. It’s a very cool fantasy novel that even someone who’s not really a fantasy reader enjoyed, so that’s saying something. I liked my first Brandon Sanderson book, and while he’s not quite in my to-read-soon and to-acquire-all author just yet, I will definitely read his other books. Soon. (Mistborn, anyone?)


My copy: UK edition, birthday gift from Aaron

Other reviews:
The Book Smugglers

Required Reading: May

Altogether now: where did April go?

As I mentioned in my other non-review posts in the past months, April has been another slow reading month, but looking back, it’s actually quite a good month for reading! Yes, I was terribly slow (still 9 books behind in my Goodreads challenge — soon to be 10 this week!), but it’s still all good.

So April, April. I was able to finish the two books I listed in my Required Reaching challenge in two days. I didn’t cheat, but of course we have to remember the fact that I read them during Holy Week break, and they were children’s books. But hey, whatever genre they are, they are still books. :P So recap!

I also finished my second classic for the year, Jane Eyre. I still haven’t finished Mother Teresa’s book, but I promise, I will finish it this year.

Required Reading: May

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In My Mailbox (23): Birthday Mailbox, Part 2

Happy 26th!

So today I turn 26. Last night I had a karaoke party with some of my friends and it was a bit crazy, and we all welcomed my birthday together with songs, drinks and stayed up until 3am talking about scifi things. Or they talked about scifi while I waited for the alcohol buzz to pass with coffee and cake.

Anyway, as expected, there would be a part 2 of my birthday mailbox. Some of my book club friends were there last night and of course, they got me books. :)

Birthday books!

  • What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones from Kai — to those who don’t know, Kai of Amaterasu Reads and I work together. It was kind of funny how she sneaked this book away from me when we were together almost all afternoon. I saw her carry it but I pretended not to see it. :P
  • Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson from Aaron – trust Aaron to give me my first Brandon Sanderson book. I read the first page of this and it reminded me of the feeling of reading a Kristin Cashore or an MWT book. Hmmm exciting.
  • The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston from KD – KD is our book club moderator, and I told him to give me a more mature book since I did turn a year older. He got me this lovely scrapbook like book. I have no idea what its about but it looks lovely. :)

There’s also this one book behind The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt that the photo didn’t quite get clearly. It’s a book about this local artist, Christian Bautista. Now, I’m not exactly a fan and I don’t know why I got this, but hey, a gift is a gift. LOL.

I got home at 3am, like I said and woke up at 9, and then headed to mass and lunch with my brother and sister-in-law. Awesome lunch, and lots of food, and then finally went home in the afternoon because I was just tired. Then I got home and there was a package waiting for me in my room!

Colorful package for me out of its courier plastic

And inside:

Yay tiny post-its!

Tiny post-its for noting pages and quotes in books so I won’t have to dog-ear anymore! :) Thanks so much, Monique!

So now, I am home and I am quite happy to be not out on my birthday. I guess I’m just exhausted from the past week, and I’m really just looking forward to spending the night at home with my family and reading. Must be signs of aging, not wanting to party all weekend. Before you know it, I’ll be needing walkers for seniors! But I hope not. Haha. Maybe next year my birthday gift to myself is to finally take that reading vacation/staycation I’ve been wanting for so long.

Happy 26th birthday to me. :)