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Everything posted by williamjm

  1. I read Brandon Sanderson's The Lost Metal, the last book of his second series set in the Mistborn world. In many ways it was a good conclusion to the series. The three main characters who the series has been following have all had quite a lot of character development since the first book and get some more here. The climax to the main plotline also worked well with some good set-pieces and how the characters have changed since the first book is crucial to the resolution (and not just in terms of new powers they have gained). However, I also thought there were some negatives. In this book Sanderson does seem to be a bit obsessed with tie-ins to his other books and the wider Cosmere setting. I mostly haven't read his other books (aside from Elantris) and perhaps fans of his other works might appreciate the references and the hints at an over-arching plot but it did distract a lot from the main plotlines in a series where hitherto there had only been hints at connections with other worlds. It also means there has to be a lot of exposition, admittedly not unusual in a Brandon Sanderson book, but as well as the usual exposition about how supernatural abilities work in the Mistborn world we also get exposition about supernatural abilities from other worlds as well. Some seemingly significant plotlines carried over the previous book and features in the early part of this one also get abandoned with no conclusion, presumably a future series in the setting will return to them but for now they are just left dangling. It was still a enjoyable book to read, but I think it would have been a better book if it had been a bit more focused.
  2. "Author with bad prose sells a lot of books, how can this be?" did seem a weird premise for an article. Has the writer never read a Dan Brown book? I agree that it also seemed a bit harsh on Sanderson's writing to call it bad. He's a competent writer and storyteller, even if there's no flair to his writing.
  3. Sunak's new deal with the EU on Northern Ireland which passed by 515 votes to 29 with Boris and Liz Truss rebelling against the government.
  4. I think the first Avengers film deserves a lot of credit for being the first time it really felt like a series of films that was more than the sum of its parts, and I think at the time it was one of the best superhero films around. In retrospect, it doesn't entirely fit with later films in terms of plot (particularly Thanos' plans), some of the characterisation is a bit off (Loki seems a different character to his other appearances) and feels a bit lightweight compared to the Russos films but I think it's still the highlight of the phase 1 films. By comparison, Age of Ultra had potential but ended up a a mess.
  5. If a Mandalorian takes their helmet off in a forest and no one is around to see it, did it really happen?
  6. I just saw that. I think it is a good decision to reverse it, having a 10 second penalty for that seemed very harsh. Putting out a safety car seemed unnecessary as well when Stroll seemed to have done a good job of getting his car off the track.
  7. A good victory for Perez, obviously helped by Verstappen's qualifying drama but when it looked like his team-mate might be in a position to chase him he did seem to be able to keep the gap at 4-5 seconds. Still a good result for Verstappen and keeps him in the lead of the championship. The other teams don't look like they have any answer for the Red Bulls at the moment, although Alonso must have enjoyed taking the early lead. It's a pity about the double penalty denying Alonso the podium, a big mistake by the team there, especially after Ocon got penalised for the same thing last race you would think all the teams would be cautious about working on the car early. A bit like early last year, George Russell seems to have the knack of getting good points even when the car isn't the best.
  8. If it makes you feel better they didn't get a bonus point against Scotland so maybe they haven't peaked yet?
  9. A tense game towards the end between Scotland and Italy. The Italians were threatening a victory with a couple of minutes to go but a small knock-on just short of the Scottish tryline quickly turned into Kinghorm scoring at the other end. At half-time in the middle match Wales made a bright start but France have moved into the lead and look dangerous whenever they attack.
  10. I guess the higher settings could be for use on different species who might be less sensitive to it than humans are. It's also a bit weird that undercover agents get to watch medical procedures. I did like the episode overall, even if it did feel like two completely unrelated episodes sandwiched together.
  11. I read Neil Gaiman's The Kindly Ones. Since it is the longest volume in the series there was a lot going on in it, particularly since it seemed determined to bring together most of the major and minor characters from earlier stories. I think it usually did this effectively with some welcome returns for some characters I wasn't necessarily expecting to see again, although sometimes it was a challenge to remember all of them - I think I might have struggled to remember Lyta without the TV series having recently reminded me of her existence, which could have been a problem given how crucial she is to the plot. The climax to the story is heavily foreshadowed, but still powerful despite that and I think wisely does not try to tie up everything neatly. I think the weakest part of it is that some of the artwork was in a different style to the earlier volumes and I really disliked some of it. I've now moved on to trying to finish off Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn books after the recent publication of the final book in the second series. Before starting that I read the novella A Secret History, which I didn't read when it first came out. I think it was useful for reminding me about some of the events in previous books since it is retelling the events from a different perspective. As a story it felt a bit clunky with a lot of exposition (a lot of which seemed to be trying to tie the series into Sanderson's non-Mistborn books), and the attempts at humour by the protagonist fell flat.
  12. That might be the most one-sided defeat I've ever seen for England. Just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong and towards the end France seemed to be playing a different game to them. It's not going to get any easier facing the world's number one team next week, either. France have maybe under-performed a bit in the tournament until today, but if they can carry this form through to the World Cup they will be formidable.
  13. I think 'Labour are as good at politics as Gary Lineker was at football' perhaps isn't the devastating insult that they seem to think it is.
  14. According to his author bio he is American. Apparently he was nominated (with a co-author) for a Nebula Award for Best Novelette, a few years ago.
  15. I was curious and read some reviews on Goodreads, one included this quote from the book which suggests even the protagonist has read The Name of the Wind:
  16. It was a great drive from Alonso. It would have been interesting to see if he could challenge Le Clerc for third if the Ferrari hadn't broken down, I'm not sure what the gap was behind Le Clerc when that happened. It was another one of those races where everyone most ignores Verstappen as he goes off and dominates at the front. Ferrari seem to be continuing last year's tendency to find ways to not deliver on the potential of their car, although even if everything had gone perfectly it's hard to see how they could challenge the Red Bulls.
  17. The latest episode was definitely fun to watch, there's nothing particularly original in the cat-and-mouse game in the nebula while also having the simultaneous events on the Titan but the episode does move at a good pace. I think it's a shame that some of the details let it down.
  18. I realise that due to the identity of the team owner it was never going to happen, but it would have been fascinating to have Alonso and Vettel driving together in a competitive Aston Martin. In Q1 and Q2 the field looked very close, although Red Bull did pull ahead in Q3. It would have been interesting to see whether Le Clerc could have challenged for the front row if he did another run. Alonso didn't quite manage to challenge for pole but still a good qualifying result for him. Hopefully we have a competitive race tomorrow rather than Verstappen charging off into the distance.
  19. I doubt she's going to get many more offers to ghost-write autobiographies. Since they're the beneficiary of it I'm sure the Torygraph would be happy to employ her if her other employers let her go.
  20. With the first qualifying about to start Aston Martin seem to be what everyone is talking about. I think just about everyone apart from the Red Bull team will be hoping that Alonso really can put in a challenge for pole position.
  21. I know they won't do it this way but I think it would be better for the X-Men films if they were in their own universe rather than trying to crowbar them into the MCU. I thought that some of the other recent films like Eternals didn't really gain anything from being in the MCU and had to waste time on putting it little references to the earlier films. Fantastic 4 is probably easier to integrate into the MCU, although again they could have it in the same universe at the X-Men films.
  22. I think the Trusspocalypse was clearly their biggest problem and Sunak initially regained a bit of ground but it seems to have been pretty static since then. Since the 3rd November that polling average has gone from a 22 point lead to a 20 point lead, I imagine Sunak was hoping to make more of an impact than that. I suspect Labour won't be winning the next General Election by 20 points, but at the moment it's still a healthy lead.
  23. The storyline is definitely incomplete at the moment, although I'm more optimistic about the series being completed than some other notable fantasy series.
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