I’ve recently begun reading Bleak House, a Charles Dickens novel. While I almost always enjoy Dickens novels, with the partial exception of A Tale of Two Cities, the funny thing is that I don’t really read his books for the stories.
Yet for all the attention that the equivalency between science and magic seems to take, it was not to me really what drove this book or made it enjoyable. I think this book was really all about perspective and communication, and the evidence is in the very structure of the book. It is written primarily from two perspectives: the “magic” perspective and the “science” perspective, and it is the contrast between the two that makes this book distinct from any number of other riffs on the interaction between more and less “advanced” civilizations.
My main goal, going through revisions having now completed the Pifechan invasion episodes at the end of season two, was to help readers understand the Pifechan mindset, and to make them seem less like a tropy evil empire out to dominate the world.
Or, as I wanted to title this post: A Splendid Review. Unfortunately, I wouldn't go so far as to call this a splendid book. You might be starting to think that I'm just biased against nonfiction, considering that I think the majority of the nonfiction books I've reviewed on the site have all been described as something along the lines of "mediocre," but I promise there are some that I would call excellent. Chernow's biographies of Washington and Hamilton, for instance, or another splendid biography on Lincoln, or several books on theoretical astrophysics...unfortunately, I read those before I started doing book reviews on the site, and it just so happens that the nonfiction books that I've read since I started have been somewhat disappointing.
About a year and a half ago, I had an idea for a magic system, inspired by how a relatively primitive culture might perceive the four fundamental forces of nature. Just to explore the magic system, I decided to write an expository scene. When I finished, the scene was almost twenty pages long, involved the main character climbing a really, really long staircase, and I realized it was chapter 1, and that I had a chapter 2 to write. About seven months later, I finished the rough draft of what I realized would become the first novel of an epic fantasy series.
To be perfectly honest, I did not have high expectations when I picked up Skyward. But it did say Sanderson on the cover, so I did eventually read Skyward. I have to say this was a case of not judging a book by its summary, because Skyward genuinely did draw me in, and I found it to be a unique, compelling story. So when Starsight came out, I may have wished a little that he had been working on Stormlight Archives, instead, but I was eager to read this second installment in the series.