The final month of the year is always busy with holiday preparations and spending some quality time with family/friends. Even with that though, I still had some quality reading time and was able to finish some great books! 

1. The Wisdom of Fulton Sheen

This was a 5/5 spiritual journey that lasted the whole year

This might be a little bit of a cheat since I began this at the start of the year and have been trying to keep up with the daily excerpts since then. I really enjoyed this and think it makes for an awesome, low-commitment resource for increasing one's daily reflection and enhancing their prayer life. 

2. Gloves of Eons

This was a 5/5 read for me

While epic fantasy may still not fully be my jam, I think I might be pretty fully invested in the world of The Kallatian Saga at this point. I loved the character arcs and the more central point of conflict. There was a lot left on the table by the end, even though things don't necessarily leave off on a cliffhanger, and I look forward to seeing where all of that goes. 

3. The Bands of Mourning 

4/5 for a fun adventure with some broader Cosemere implications

I may not have loved this as much as the previous book in this series, largely due to the less focused narrative direction, but the India Jones inspired relic hunt was a ton of fun and there were some very interesting developments in the magic systems and worldbuilding along with some awesome character moments. 

4. Impact Winter: Season 2

A fun, albeit repetitive 4/5 follow up

Though not every aspect of the story structure or end twists worked for me, I am still having a ton of fun with this audio drama series. I love the vampire apocalypse setting, I find the characters to be extremely compelling, and I continue to be impressed by the audio fidelity of how this is all put together.  

5. Ascender Volume 1

4/5 for an intriguing start to this follow up series

Things get off to a slower start as this world and its characters are effectively re-introduced to us over the course of these first five issues. I am definitely hooked on what we got so far though and very much look forward to what the next volumes will bring. 

BONUS: Arcanum Unbounded (The Scadrian System)

This has continued to be a very fun 4/5 so far that may be leaning closer to a 5

The Scadrian section kicks off with two short stories set in the Mistborn world, known as Scadriel. One functions as a sort of re-introduction for Kelsier as he receives training from his old mentor, Gemmel, who is mentioned in the original trilogy, but never seen. It was really nice to spend time with Kelsier again and I think this story could be a nice taste-test for readers curious about the Mistborn series and it's fabled magic system while also offering some nice new insights for returning readers. The second story focusses on Allomancer Jak and is a lot sillier, but manages to offer some new information into the world of Mistborn's second era (also known as the Wax and Wayne series). I'd previously thought Jak was just a pulp fiction character from the broadsheets of Era Two, but it turns out he's an actual person that exists within it, which is pretty funny and his adventures serve to give insight into how the kolos society works in this new era. Ending this section is the Mistborn Secret History novella. Wow, what a whirlwind this was! It's impossible to say much without giving a ton away for both the novella and pretty much all of the other novels in this series, but I will say that I liked it a lot. It was awesome to see the major events from the original trilogy play out from a different perspective. What really blew my mind though is that this is where I got my first real look into the greater Cosmere. There are still many secrets left to tell, but this was pretty epic. After having read this novella, the spoiler warning at the start almost feels insufficient. I would argue that the spoilers for The Bands of Mourning are NOT minor and I would say that it not only spoils the original trilogy, but would also be incoherent without it. I would even go a step further and suggest that it should really be read  by people who are already well into their Cosmere journey. At this point I've read Elantris, Warbreaker, the original Mistborn trilogy, the first two Stormlight Archive books, Tress of the Emerald Sea, and of course the first half of this collection (I did technically read Sixth of the Dusk, but I think I missed a lot there on my first read). Frankly, more of these than not are probably important. Given that Tress is a more recent publication, I actually think I read that a little too soon and that it has potentially spoiled some things for me already, so you definitely don't need to read that before this novella. In any case, I loved Mistbordn Secret History, am still reeling at some of the bigger reveals, and am really glad to be working my way through this collection bit by bit. 

BONUS: Agile 2 (Chapters 9-10)

This is still dragging on within the 2/5 range for me

I intended to get through more of this than I did before the end of the year, but just could not find it in me to push through while I was taking some time away from work. I have five more chapters to push through in the new year. At this point, I've given up hope that this is suddenly going to come around and impress me. I mostly just want to see it through and then formulate some coherent opinions on why this was such a disappointment and why I am so concerned to see it gain traction. 

Heading into the new year I'd really like to spend a lot more time with my own writing if I can find the energy and motivation to do so. That said, I also have some big plans like rereading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, getting to some chunkier books like The Sword of Kaigen and Dune, getting through the Ascender graphic novel series, jumping into some new religious books, and reading lots of great indie fiction along the way. 


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