Saints follows the fictional Dinah Kirkham and her family from abandonment by their father at a young age, their difficult childhood, their discoverySaints follows the fictional Dinah Kirkham and her family from abandonment by their father at a young age, their difficult childhood, their discovery of Mormonism, sailing from England to America to join the Mormon settlement in Illinois, and through their lives as part of the first generation of Mormons.
This is a slog of a book, and I am so relieved to finally be finished with it. Weighing in at just over 700 pages in paperback and 21 discs in audio, the only thing I really looked forward to the whole time I was reading was getting to the end. I put myself through the torture of getting to the end only because I've set a goal to eventually read through Orson Scott Card's entire bibliography. I've had this book on my bookshelf and then in my audio book library for quite some time now and had previously made several false-start attempts to read it. I thought now was probably the best time to give it a real go because I've recently read several other books related to Mormonism, so I hoped I would have a little higher interest in the subject matter than previously. It did help. But only a smidgen.
But don't be misled by my negativity. This is a well-written book. Just boring. There were never high enough stakes or enough personal connection with the characters to really draw me in. I think people who have a real interest in Mormonism and its founding may find this book a fascinating read. But for the purposes of simple entertainment (with the bonus of learning a little history), it definitely falls short.
Although I greatly love OSC, I have to admit--and I knew this going into my reading of Saints--that not everything he writes is good. That's why I listen to most of his stuff in audio (which I find easier to get through when something is boring or not as well written; though I make it a general policy to read all fiction for the first time in print, save for this OSC exception and a few other series that I enjoy in audio more). But I'm afraid that even in audio Saints was difficult to get through. ...more
The premise of The Lost Gate is that all the ancient gods were actually beings from another planet, Westil, with special powers that allowed them to mThe premise of The Lost Gate is that all the ancient gods were actually beings from another planet, Westil, with special powers that allowed them to manipulate nature. Centuries ago, the trickster Westilian, Loki (who's power was to manipulate time by making Gates that you could essentially use to teleport through space or between Earth and Westil), closed all the interplanetary gates, trapping many of the Westilians on Earth for good. Since then, the Westilians' powers have gradually waned, and gate mages have been banned and sentenced to death if they are identified. The main story follows Danny, of the North tribe (aka, Loki, Thor, etc.), as he discovers his gate magery abilities, has to flee from his family, and then finds allies to help him hone his new-found abilities. But I much preferred the secondary storyline following the mysterious gate mage Wad in a kingdom back on Westil.
My rating is probably more around 2.5 stars, but I listened to the book in audio, which makes anything easier to get through and generally more entertaining. I did like The Lost Gate enough to want to continue on with the series. But it definitely was not good enough to upgrade to the print format....more
I may upgrade this review to five stars after a second read-through of the book, now that I know what to expect. For this first reading, I wasn't as eI may upgrade this review to five stars after a second read-through of the book, now that I know what to expect. For this first reading, I wasn't as enthralled with the various parts of the book as I was with The Name of the Wind. The parts I'm thinking of in particular are when Kvothe travels from Severen to catch the bandits, stays with (view spoiler)[Felurian in the Fae (hide spoiler)], and then trains with the Adem. Particularly with Felurian and the Adem, I was impatient for Kvothe to reunite with Denna and, more importantly, return to the University. Throughout these sections, I had a growing concern that he would not be returning to the University at all. (view spoiler)[Now that I know my concerns were unfounded, I think I can rest easy and enjoy these parts more on the second read-through. (hide spoiler)]
Other than my own silly anxieties about the direction of the story, I loved the introduction of the Cthaeh element, the progression of Bast's character, and the growing complication (view spoiler)[of Kvothe's relationship with Denna. Although I hold no pity for him that part of that complication comes from his becoming such a lady's man. How does he expect her to feel about it?! Even if he has learned a lot about women from Felurian, he is still--plainly--an idiot. (hide spoiler)]
As far as people's complaints about Kvothe being a Mary Sue with no discernible character flaws during the first half of this book, I do have to disagree. Kvothe's biggest flaws are pride and impatience, and I think he continues to have them in spades throughout this second novel. I do partially have to agree on the eye-rolling antics of Kvothe's (view spoiler)[new-found sexual talents and ensuing exploits (hide spoiler)] however. (view spoiler)[I liked unassuming, girl-shy Kvothe better. I don't think it's necessary for him to be a sex god in order to win Denna over. This whole plot element definitely steps into the realm of male fantasy in a way that just makes me have to shrug my shoulders, roll my eyes, and move on. Boys will be boys, I suppose. (hide spoiler)] But this one stumble, for me, did not ruin my enjoyment of the book in the least....more
In The Dragon Reborn, Rand Al'thor (the supposed Dragon Reborn and a main who can channel the tainted power of saidin) is determined to find out, indeIn The Dragon Reborn, Rand Al'thor (the supposed Dragon Reborn and a main who can channel the tainted power of saidin) is determined to find out, indefinitely, if he truly is the prophesied Dragon or just another False Dragon by bringing one of the events of the prophecies to pass. This third book in the series sees very few chapters from Rand's point of view but many from the other characters including, for the first time in the series, Matt--the humorous and troublesome youth (view spoiler)[just recently recovered from the wasting illness of the Shadar Logoth dagger (hide spoiler)]. The Two Rivers women, Nynaeve and Egwene (with Elaine, the daughter heir of Andor, in tow) find themselves once again leaving the White Tower, this time on the tail of the Black Ajah. And Perrin finds himself saddled with an unexpected new traveling companion (view spoiler)[Faile, the falcon of Min's visions (hide spoiler)].
I burned through this book, on this re-read, more quickly than the previous two. But I felt like I was always in anticipation of things happening but very little was actually happening at any moment except at the end of the book. It's not that the book is boring. Far from. It's just that you can't say, "Oh, I love when [this] happens in Book 3." or "Remember when [that] happens in the third book? That was awesome!" Rather, this book is very much a journey where each group ends up following separate paths only to converge on the very same location. Yet even the end was a bit less climatic than what I remembered.
Very excited to re-read the fourth book, though. Which, if my recollections aren't failing me, does have lots of exciting and interesting happenings throughout....more