July 20, 2009

Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Series

Over the past few weeks, I have been using my OLPC as an ebook reader again. I really like the OLPC as an ebook reader. I did already post a review of Bradon Sanderson's Mistborn: The Final Empire, which I really liked. I received it as part of the Tor.com free ebook giveaway which was great. This was the first time I had ever heard of Brandon Sanderson, and I really enjoyed the book. Since then I have heard a bit about him, mostly because he has been tapped to write the final book in the (unending) Wheel of Time series now that Robert Jordan has left us. I actually read the first few books, and then started to lose patience with them.

I really enjoyed the Magic system in Mistborn, and wanted to read the follow up books. I don't think it is possible to read the first book and not want to continue on to read the next two. So I decided to buy the books in my preferred format (digital) and see if I could get them to work on my OLPC.

Why do I prefer digital books now? The main reason is space. I live in Tokyo with my wife, and we have a small apartment that we bought. It costs a ridiculous amount of money, and has very little shelf space. So I am trying to get digital versions of all my books, except for a few that I have nice leather-bound versions of (Lord of the Rings, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Feynman Lectures on Physics.)

So I wanted to get digital versions of the second and third Mistborn books. I picked up the second book, The Well of Ascension, from Fictionwise.com. It cost $14, which is annoying because it costs $7.99 on Amazon.com, which includes a physical real book made out of dead trees. I got the final book, The Hero of Ages, from mobipocket for $14 because the fictionwise version was $23 or something like that. Of course, the real physical version of the book is $7.99, so in both cases I paid more to get what absolutely positively has lower creation and distribution costs from the physical versions. I hope that Brandon Sanderson saw a higher percentage of royalties from the ebooks versions, but I am pretty sure that isn't the case.

Anyway, both ebooks came in .mobi versions, and have DRM on them. That is bad because I can't read files with DRM on my OLPC. In general, DRM is used to lock a book to one reading device. That is a problem also because you need special software to read the DRM'd files, and in twenty years I do not have confidence that the proper software will be around. So I removed the DRM from the books. I was really happy that worked. It looks like I might have lost some data in the conversion process, (a few line breaks, one of the books lost italics) but they both still read very well.

And now, on to my very short review of the second and third books: they were great! I am sad now that I have finished reading the books because there is no more for me to read in that world. I do plan on reading the other books that Brandon Sanderson has written, and also have been checking his website, which has deleted scenes, and commentary for the chapters. It is very interesting!

The characters in the book are very interesting, and the magic system is really great. I love a nice system that is logical and makes sense, where you get a feeling that the world is logically consistent. Brandon Sanderson has thought a lot about those issues, and it really shows up in the books. Highly recomended!


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