What I've Been Reading, October 2020 Edition
My reading has been all over the map this month. Given the state of political affairs, I've even read a journalistic book about current events and will provide my opinion on the book, if not the content per se. I was also lured into reading Paolini's latest novel, an epic space opera. As usual, it is the tale of Uhtred that is easily the best of the bunch.
In this novel, the seventh in Cornwell's excellent Saxon Tales, Uhtred is older but not necessarily wiser. If anything, in some respects, he's even rasher then he was as a young man. That's not to say age isn't catching up to him. Old wounds slow him down, and he is stiff after a long day in the saddle. In battle, his son partakes in the stunning feats of bold athleticism Uhtred once performed. Still, when everything is on the line, Uhtred demonstrates yet again he is the preeminent sword warrior through sheer hard-nosed toughness and stubborn bravery. This novel contains everything fans of the Saxon Tales expect. Well worth the read.
What Cornwell does exceptionally well in this book is to show how a character can grow and change over the course of many novels. Uhtred is not the same person as the boy and young man in The Last Kingdom. His transformation over the course of the seven novels is most apparent in The Pagan Lord while being utterly believable. This fact alone makes the series worth studying.
This book has one heck of a title. A brilliant title. I think that's what drew me to it. I had high hopes for this book, despite not enjoying Paolini's earlier novels. Overall, the book is okay. I'm sure fans of epic space opera will find something to enjoy in it. (minor spoiler!)What Paolini does exceptionally well is make the protagonist's dislocation and fear and awe while interfacing with alien artifact visceral and immediate. I cannot overemphasize how well he pulled off this aspect of characterization. Really well done.
Given the state of affairs in the United States, I decided to read Bob Woodward's latest book about the current president. I knew the content might not be flattering for the president, but I didn’t know what else to expect. Despite having known about Woodward for what seems like my entire life, I never read anything by him. I suspected the book might be dense and, well, dull. That's not the case at all. I found Woodward's style engaging. To my surprise, the book turned out to be a quick and enjoyable read.