Fantastical Intentions is a feature featuring Hannah (me!) of Once Upon A Time and Jacob of the fabulous fantasy-sf blog, Drying Ink. We plan to intermittently host it between us every now and then with a new fantasy related topic. If you’d like to join in, feel free to write a post of your own and leave your links in the comments or just leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!

Hey guys! We’re back! With me moving, being stuck without full internet access for about a month, getting settled and both of us having Christmas, it has taken us a while to get back to Fantastical Intentions but we didn’t abandon you.

Okay, so we may be a little late with this topic but we thought it would be a fun topic to discuss anyway. I, personally, always go onto Amazon and spend a small chunk of my birthday/Christmas money on a box of books once Christmas is over and there is always one or two that I’m more excited over than the others. So we decided to discuss our favourite book found/bought/received over Christmas.

So my pick this week is The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.

There were a lot of books I picked up over the Christmas period. Some epic fantasy, some urban fantasy, some young adult, some witchy.. basically, the books I’ve been after for a long time. Some as long as a year, some more recent. But the one that stands out the most to me has to be The Way of Kings.

Aside from grabbing the one volume edition because… well I have no clue, call me a sadist if you like because it sits on my shelf taking up over 1,000 pages worth of space, I also made sure I picked up the UK edition which was admittedly not so difficult being in the UK myself, but as much as I love the cover art on the US edition, I absolutely adore Sanderson’s UK cover art.

And then there’s the story itself. I loved Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy (now series) and I’m constantly hearing rave reviews of The Way of Kings which in essence say that this book completely dwarfs Mistborn and is in fact up there with the work of Mr. Rothfuss. I love the epic, I love a good magic system, I love a story you can completely lose yourself in. That is what I’m expecting from Way of Kings.

I very much can’t wait to get time to put everything aside and just devour all 1,000 pages of this book.

Jacob’s pick is.. well.. I’ll let him go into it. 🙂

Oddly enough, my most treasured book from Christmas isn’t from the fantasy genre – it’s science, and not even science fiction. Even Prince of Thorns -wonderfully nasty as it is – came a close second. My choice? Sciencia. It’s basically a compendium of all things scientific and mathematical: from proofs to maps of the human body, in bite sized form. It gets advanced quite quickly, but it’s so beautifully made (and illustrated – in sepia, so it seems very comfortable) that you forget it. I’m a big fan of science writing, and this is quite possibly the ultimate bits and pieces book. A bit of biology, a dash of physics: it’s no wonder I love it!

For those whose scientific reading has been confined to textbooks, it’s not at all like that. This is a book which is easy to read in chunks – while simultaneously going to a nicely challenging level with it. But the main selling point is – well, its execution. I’m a big fan of beautiful books (and an antiquarian bookshop is something I can never pass by). In itself, Sciencia is probably the top modern book in that particular category. Every page is illustrated. Every illustration – even calculation or diagram – is intricately, carefully drawn out. (Although I did find they’d written the Identity matrix wrong…)

Coming in a close second is, of course, Prince of Thorns. ((Hannah’s note: I picked this up just before my birthday! Haven’t had chance to read it yet but it looks eexcellent!)) If you’ve seen my review, you don’t need to wonder why. If you haven’t? Well, here’s a quick summary. Prince of Thorns is, at its heart, inventively nasty. And that’s refreshing! Its protagonist, Prince Jorg Ancrath, is the worst (or possibly best) antihero I’ve ever read: manipulative, sadistic, and frequently brilliant. And it’s set in a post-apocalyptic world. What more could I ask for? (Although I admit, immortal god emperor of humanity is a tempting position)