These are reviews of books, movies, restaurants, local businesses, tools, and other product that I've written over the years.

Book: Imager's Battalion by L.E. Modesitt

  • Posted on: 19 March 2013
  • By: Jay Oyster

Imager's Battalion coverNovel: Imager's Battalion by L.E. Modesitt. Book 3 of 5 in the Second Imager series.

The plot isn't terribly surprising. It's mostly linear and somewhat retreads territory the author covered in his Mage-Guard books. But I read Modessit mostly for his insights on the political machinations of human societies, and to see how a powerful character deals with the situations he faces. Queryt is one of the author's more balanced and generally likeable characters. Yeah, he's trying to accomplish something great, and since he has intangible power (imaging) he sometimes does truly awful things, but he never does it without realizing the costs, and his goals are truly admirable.

Review: The MistBorn Trilogy by Brandon Anderson

  • Posted on: 12 February 2013
  • By: Jay Oyster

Cover of the Mistborn TrilogyReview of The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. Reviewed on Febuary 22nd, 2013. 

As a couple other reviewers on Amazon have said, if I were reviewing just the first of the three books, I'd probably give it a four or a five rating. But I just bought and read the trilogy on the Kindle, and although I did finish all three, I don't think I'll recommend them to others. Or I'll recommend the first book and suggest one ignore the other two.

I'm not going to try to justify this in a literary sense. In my recent reading, I've come down to a much more personal, fundamental judgement . . .did I enjoy the experience. More and more with recent fiction, I have to say 'Nope'. I suppose it started with The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Why does modern fiction feel like it must bludgeon the reader into senselessness in order to get us to understand that there are 'stakes'. Yes, I get it . . . life can be terribly hard. More and more of the 'quality' writing, films, and television seems to want to dwell (for a long, LOOOONG time) on the absolute worst aspects of existence . . pain, suffering, betrayal, torture, loss, heartbreak, greed, stupidity, and all the other weaknesses of human nature. There Will be Blood and No Country for Old Men were a recent pairing of films that epitomize the trend.

Review: Imager's Intrigue, by L.E. Modesitt

  • Posted on: 22 July 2010
  • By: Jay Oyster

Review: Imager's Intrigue, The Third book of the First Imager Trilogy, by L.E. Modesitt. Reviewed 7/22/2010

"Solid, occasionally tedious, typical Modesitt"

Cover art for Imager's Intrigue I actually like reading L.E. Modesitt, but he can be somewhat infuriating at times. Imager's Intrigue, the third book in his Imager's trilogy, is typical. This, unlike much fantasy fiction is not intended for a 13 year old audience. At times I get the feeling that he's only concerned about the plot as a secondary outcome. Honestly, I suspect that he uses these novels as a way to role-play some of his ideas about economics and political theory. I think perhaps the fact that he fits his fantastical and otherworldly elements into such a mundane setting is what makes the story interesting for an adult. As always, the magic available to the characters has rules, very real limits, and often difficult consequences.

If you've read the first two books, you do want to find out what happens to the protagonist, Rhennthyl, and his wife Seliora. They are interesting, consistent characters, if they do suffer sometimes at the hands of Modesitt's style. As usual, the author keeps a hard remove from his character's emotions. He describes their actions and some of their thoughts, but he only lets us infer their motives and emotions. In some ways, this is what makes this a more adult version of the genre. It isn't an emotional rollercoaster, it is a story about events. It reads almost as a historical document.