Jacob Densford


Currently reading...

Outhbringer by Brandon Sanderson and Hilde by Nicola Griffith.

Read in 2023

So You Want To Be A Game Master by Justin Alexander

This is the best book on running tabletop roleplaying games I've ever read.

I read this book in December 2023. I recommend it.

The Truce at Bakura by Kathy Tyers

As I continue reading through all the old Expanded Universe Star Wars novels in release order, I reach the first speedbump. This book was not as good as the original Thrawn trilogy. Not even close. But it wasn't terrible. Still, probably only worth reading if you're doing something weird like reading through all the old Expanded Universe Star Wars novels in release order.

I read this book in October 2023. I don't recommend it.

City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin

I read this book at the end of September, 2023. I recommend it.

The Likeness by Tana French

I read this book at the end of August, 2023. I recommend it.

Star Wars: The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

This book concludes the original Thrawn trilogy that kicked off the Star Wars Expanded Universe back in the early 90s. I loved it.

I read this book in the middle of August, 2023. I recommend it.

Star Wars: Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn

I read this book at the end of July, 2023. I recommend it.

Star Wars: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn

What a fantastic start to the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Zahn really captured the characters from the films and successfully brought them to the page. And, somehow, made his new characters just as compelling, if not more so.

I read this book in the middle of July, 2023. I recommend it.

Star Wars: The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott

I read this book in the middle of July, 2023. I recommend it.

X-Wing: Rogue Squadron by Michael Stackpole

I read this book at the beginning of July, 2023. I recommend it.

The City & the City by China Miéville

I read this book at the beginning of July, 2023. I recommend it.

Planet of Exile by Ursula K. Le Guin

This was the second novel both in the Hainish Cycle (which doesn't actually exist—see "In what order should I read the Ekumen, Earthsea, and Catwings books?" on this page) and in the book Three Hainish Novels. (I read the first on both counts, Rocannon's World, a year or two ago and liked it fine.) It was such a fast read. But still impactful. I really felt the hate, love, and—most of all–snow. I liked it a lot.

I read this story in June of 2023. I recommend it.

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

I finished this book at the start of May, 2023. I recommend it*.

Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien

I've been really into fairy stories lately.

"[Faërie] is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold. In that realm a man may, perhaps, count himself fortunate to have wandered, but its very richness and strangeness tie the tongue of a traveller who would report them. And while he is there it is dangerous for him to ask too many questions, lest the gates should be shut and the keys be lost.”

— Tolkien

I read this book in January, 2023. I recommend it.

Read in 2022

The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal

I read this book in December, 2022. I recommend it.

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel

Took a break from all the Brando Sando to read some more from Emily St John Mandel. I think I liked this book even more than her last book I read, Station Eleven. It was some elevated science fiction, for sure. All the separate pieces came together perfectly in the end.

I read this book in December, 2022. I strongly recommend it.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

With every new Brandon Sanderson stand-alone I read or series I start, it seems I have a new favorite of his books. At this point, I really can't choose. This book was less of a complete story than The Final Empire or the stand-alones (obviously), which makes it harder to judge on its own. Still, a great start to what I expect will be a compelling series. There was a lot of world building in the first fifth or so of the book, which was a bit of a slog at times. But most of it paid off. And, judging by his other books, will continue to pay off as the series progresses. I'm into it.

I finished this book at the start of October, 2022. I recommend it*.

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

There isn't much more I can say about ol' Brando Sando. He's a freak of nature. I don't know how he keeps pumping out these amazing novels. While I didn't like this world and magic system as much as the ones in Mistborn or Elantris, it was still very creative and realized. And, once again, the characters stole my heart. Ugh.

I finished this book in mid August, 2022. I strongly recommend it*.

Mistborn Era One: The First Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

I didn't think I could like another Sanderson book more than I liked Elantris. I was wrong. The first Mistborn trilogy opens with The Final Empire, which has become one of my favorite books I've ever read. From the pacing and action to the worldbuilding and characters, It's just so damn perfect. The second book—The Well of Ascension—is slightly weaker. Its pacing is slower and its direction harder to follow. But the character development is still very enjoyable. The Hero of Ages, the final book in the trilogy, is nearly as good as the first. It was nearly constant payoff of seemingly innocuous things set up in the first and second book. It blew my mind. Though, I do wish it had ended a little earlier and with a little more ambiguity.

I read these three books during June and July, 2022. I highly recommend them*.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

I'd been meaning to read Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere novels for a long time. I took his SFF writing class online and have listened to podcasts he's been a part of over the years. Even without ever reading a single word he wrote, he's already been a big influence on my own fiction. Still, I'd hoped to dislike his books, if for no other reason than to be different. Alas, I'm happy/sad to report that his popularity is well-earned. His writing is so clear, his worlds so detailed and creative. He does stuff with magic I've never seen before. People always talk about those things. But, more importantly, his characters are so likable and feel so real. He manages to even make his villains into people you can't help but care about.

I'm using Marvin Rösch's excellent Cosmere reading guide to determine the order in which I tackle the Cosmere, mostly following in-universe chronology, with one exceptions to avoid major spoilers (Mistborn: Secret History).

I finished reading this book at the end of May, 2022, and I can't recommend it enough*.

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

I love when speculative fiction and literary fiction intersect, when you get grounded human stories with fully realized characters set in a world that isn't quite our own. Ursula K Le Guin managed to do this. And, I think, Emily St John Mandel does as well. Truly, any good science fiction or fantasy does this, so I guess it isn't technically a melding of the genre with lit fic. But there is a certain other quality. A slowness. An intentionality. I can't quite put my finger on it.

Anyway, Station Eleven was great. I read this book in April, 2022. I recommend it.