I did a tidy business this year for Christmas, with respect to books. I received four books as gifts, starting with The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. I also picked up Mistborn and Elantris, also by Brandon Sanderson, and The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. (Besides that, I also got a hot chocolate pot with frother and a cold-weather running outfit, among other things, which I’m also excited about, but they’re a little beyond the scope of this blog.) My son, meanwhile (though he has yet to leave the womb), got a shiney new copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
I’m very excited by this bounty of books. I’ve not been reading nearly as much as I’d like this past year or two, due in large consequence to my MBA program eating most of my free time for a hearty breakfast. I enjoy advancing my education, but I do miss leisure reading. Most of these books aren’t new – the newest, The Gathering Storm, was released in October of this year – so any reviews I do on them will hardly be timely. But I’ll probably post my thoughts once I am able to delve into them.
Of these novels, Elantris is a stand-alone book, while Mistborn is the first book of a trilogy and The Name of the Wind is also the first in a series. The Gathering Storm, on the other hand, is the twelfth book of the long-running “Wheel of Time” saga – so a review of this book is of limited worth outside the context of the series as a whole. If you’re already a “Wheel of Time” fan, you’re already familiar with The Gathering Storm, and there’s a fair chance you’ve read it already, so any review, positive or negative, is unlikely to have a substantial impact on your likelihood of picking it up.
This all got me thinking about the tendancy for fantasy novels, in particular, to come in a series of books, and of the trend in mainstream fiction, generally, either toward or away from serials and series. It gives me a wonderful opportunity to segue into another short essay on the topic of novel series and serials, critiquing the pros and cons on the matter, and perhaps providing a little food-for-thought for other aspiring writers. Stay tuned tomorrow for my short essay on novel series. Until then, happy writing.