100 Word Book Reviews: July 2020

Sanderson, Brandon. The Bands of Mourning. New York: Tor Books, 2016. 447 pages.

B+: The penultimate volume in the Wax & Wayne saga leaves as many questions as it answers. The individual drama of this book has a clear and decisive ending, but it understandably leaves the reader anticipating the final volume. In typical Sanderson fashion, the plot is fast and action-packed, the characters are funny, and it is full of twist after twist as you continue to rethink all you thought you knew about the Mistborn universe. Wax and company are on the trail of the Set, who are searching for the mythical and incredibly powerful Bands of Mourning. 

Sanders, Fred. The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010. 258 pages. 

A+: Hands down the best book on the Trinity I have read in years. Orthodox teaching on the Trinity is not dry and dead, but the beating heart of the Christian faith. Sanders draws intentionally from the history, distinctives, and practices of the evangelical tradition to invite evangelicals to draw deeper from their own wellspring of Trinitarian thought. With chapters showing the Trinitarian shape of salvation, scripture, and prayer, readers are invited to see anew what they already knew: the doctrine of the Trinity belongs to the gospel itself. Highly recommended for all wanting to drink deeper of the Christian faith. 

Sanderson, Brandon. Warbreaker. New York: Tor Books, 2009. 669 pages.

B+: In reading Warbreaker, I have finished reading every book in Sanderson’s Cosmere (most twice). This book is a good standalone volume, but is also helpful before reading Oathbringer, since some of its characters reappear there. Princess Vivenna has been promised since birth to marry the God King, yet it is her sister Siri who is sent instead. As both sisters work to save their people from war, they each find hidden flaws and strengths within themselves. With a intricate magic system based on breath and color, Warbreaker investigates wisdom, naiveté, deception, and what is worth sacrificing your life for. 

Sanderson, Brandon. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. New York: Scholastic Press, 2007. 328 pages. 

A-: Rampant silliness. Alcatraz Smedry supernatural Talent is breaking things. Pulled out of the fires of his foster home (he broke the stove boiling water), Alcatraz is pulled into the fight against the Evil Librarians who control the world. Joined by members of his family with equally humorous talents (being late, tripping, speaking gibberish), Alcatraz must infiltrate the local library to recover his birthright: a bag of special sand that can be forged into a powerful lens. Talking dinosaurs, cantaloupe, crystal swords, and paper monsters all make appearances in the first volume of this self-styled autobiography of Alcatraz Smedry. 

Webb, William J. Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis. Downer’s Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2001. 302 pages. 

A: What God has separated, let man not join together. In this book, Webb lays out a method of determining how to apply Scripture today by examining three case studies side-by-side: slaves, women, and homosexuals. Webb shows how and why abolitionists were right to go ‘beyond’ the explicit commands of scripture and reject slavery, how scripture itself pushes toward a vision of male and female with mutuality and difference, and how scripture consistently runs counter-cultural in refusing to bless same-sex sexual activity. Treated separately but simultaneously, this book helps see the consistent logic of God’s Word.

Sanderson, Brandon. The Scrivener’s Bones. New York: Scholastic Press, 2008. 337 pages.

A-: Only one who truly knows and enjoys a craft can thoroughly mock it. Sanderson’s love comes through as he pokes fun at himself, fellow authors, and especially the genre of fantasy. In this second volume in the Alcatraz series, Alcatraz Smedry and company head to the Library of Alexandria, where to check out a book is to forfeit their soul. Alcatraz’s talent for breaking things, as well as his absurd cleverness, will come in handy as they search for his father and try to stay one step ahead of the half-man, half-machine the evil Librarians sent after him. 

Sanderson, Brandon. Oathbringer. New York: Tor Books, 2017. 1248 pages.

A: In this third Stormlight book, everyone is forced to confront their past as they seek to save the future. With the new Everstorm wreaking havoc on Roshar and the Voidbringers returned, the Knights Radiant must work to resist. As Dalinar seeks to unite Roshar, can he unite the man he is becoming with the monster he once was? As Shallan goes deeper to uncover the truth, will she end up losing herself along the way? Can Kaladin ever forgive himself for those he failed to protect? Perhaps a hypocrite is just a person in the process of changing. 

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