For me, Possession is like a bottle of wine or a box of really good chocolate (the really, expensive and sinfully good kind). There is an aboluste beaFor me, Possession is like a bottle of wine or a box of really good chocolate (the really, expensive and sinfully good kind). There is an aboluste beauty in this book, and it seems to lie in the details. How all the characters still in character, the resolution to both romances at the end, all the touches about criticism - all these ring true.
Over the years I have read this book, my favorite character has gone from Maud to Leonora then to both. Leonora, it seems to me, is so much larger than life, and I have to wonder if the character got away from Byatt, if perhaps, she had been intended to be more of "bad" critic than she is.
One of the best and greatest books ever written. Without a doubt, a canon book. Something I re-read every year to year and a half....more
For me, at least, this is the best in the series. The book includes several characters that become favorites, and it is here that the Count seems to bFor me, at least, this is the best in the series. The book includes several characters that become favorites, and it is here that the Count seems to be at his most human....more
Philip Pullman is known, perhaps infamously, for His Dark Materials trilogy, which has been attacked because of Pullman's atheist beliefs as well as t
Philip Pullman is known, perhaps infamously, for His Dark Materials trilogy, which has been attacked because of Pullman's atheist beliefs as well as the endorsement of atheism that book represents. Pullman isn't the only writer to have been attacked due to his view on religion, and I doubt that he will be the last one. Of course, he will undoubtedly be attacked this year because of his new book about Jesus and his buddy Christ.
I find it strange that there was barely a peep about the books until the movie came out.
The problem, as I see it, with such "fame" as Pullman receives is that people get hot and bothered either condemning the work or, justly, defending the work. So hot and bothered that books like Nation get overlooked. In many ways, this is good, for no one is trying to ban the book. In other ways, it is bad, for the book doesn't get the fame it deserves.
Terry Pratchett is a humanist writer of fantasy fiction. He wouldn't call his work literature, but many of his later novels either is literature or rests on literature's mutable border. I've been a huge fan of Pratchett since Wyrd Sisters made me laugh during a very tough time in my life (Thanks Mom, for giving the book to me).
Nation is the best thing that Pratchett has ever written. Nation is Literature.
I'm not sure if Nation was inspired by the Tsunami in Asia and/or Pratchett receiving his medical news. In truth, I don't really care. I do know, for Pratchett himself has said it, that Nation demanded to be told, and he stopped other projects to write it.
Supposedly a children's book, Nation tells the story of Mau who loses his whole Nation, his whole tribe, when a tsunami hits his island home. Eventually, Mau discovers Daphne, a "ghost" girl who was washed up by the same wave. What then follows is part Robinson Crusoe, told from Friday's point of view; part Swiss Family Robinson; part Island of the Blue Dolphins, and part religious and philosophical debate.
Pratchett's novels work because each of his characters is like the reader or like someone the reader knows. His characters are human and contain one or more aspects of everyone. Even Pratchett's most heroic or inhuman characters such as Carrot, Rincewind, or Death, have human traits that effect how they act (remember, Death really likes cats). Here, in this book, Pratchett presents multiple answers to the questions, "Why do bad things happen to good people if there is a just god?" and "How do you feel afterwards?"
Both Mau and Daphne have tragically lost family. Both of their reactions are human, yet different from each other. Both question the idea of god (or in the case of Mau, gods) and faith. Both arrive at different answers. More importantly, Pratchett doesn't preach, he doesn't persuade. He just wants the reader to think, the conclusion is left up to the reader. This makes the book totally honest, for there is no clear cut answer to the first question.
Besides engaging the idea of the god debate, Pratchett touches on another part of creation - where do stories come from? Are stories more than just religion? Is religion more than story? This comes as no surprise to the reader who has read the last two Science of Discworld books.
Despite the tragic and bittersweet events of the story, Pratchett's trademark humor, including footnotes, is present in full force. Like his characters, Pratchett's humor works because it contains an element of human truth. As the following exchange shows:
"Don't look back!" "Why not?" "Because I just did! Run faster!"
The tale of Mau and Daphne is an adventure tale of two teens surviving the aftermath of a natural disaster. They most rebuild. They must outwit cold blooded killers and hungry cannibal as well as the odd Grandfather Bird and tree climbing octopus. It is a thrillingly story that closely, honestly, and fairly examines faith, science and all in between.
Older Review When Nation came out, I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't a Discworld novel.
Then I read it.
It's the best thing that Pratchett has ever written.
The one thing about Terry Pratchett, as Lawrence Watt-Evans pointed out, is that the only real difference between his adult books and his children books are the age of his protagonists. There is no reason why an adult shouldn't treat this as a book.
It's a book everyone should read.
I suppose if Pratchett had the reputation or high profile of Philip Pullman or J. K. Rowling, then there would be a huge cry of how this book should be snatched from the hands of impressable children before they learn how to think for themselves. Maybe there is already such an outcry, but I haven't heard anything.
Nation reminds me a bit of Island of the Blue Dolphins, with much more thrown in. Pratchett addresses the big questions of whether or not there is a god, and if there is a god, why do bad things happen? Bad things happen in this book, right from the start. Pratchett deserves credit for not sugarcoating what happens, but for also dealing with the deathes in a way that does not alienate or upset readers (okay, upset them too much).
What Pratchett presents for the reader is a book about what extactly faith and life are. When one reads Pullman, it is quite easy to figure out where Pullman stands in regards to religion. It is not easy to figure out where Pratchett stands. One character has lost his faith, but may or may not be talking to the gods. Other characters have faith. Neither character is seen as stupid or evil because of a belief or lack of belief. In many ways, Nation is a more mature novel about faith than Pratchett's earlier tolerance novel Small Gods.
This a powerful book, and I hope it continues to fly under the radar of those people who think children shouldn't read books that make you think.
**spoiler alert** A Dangerous Climate takes St. Germain to the building of St. Petersburg where he must pose as a woman's husband. The book starts off**spoiler alert** A Dangerous Climate takes St. Germain to the building of St. Petersburg where he must pose as a woman's husband. The book starts off well, but at times the story drags. The imposter does not appear until about a third of the way into the book, and the plot line never really seems to take off. Both of the women in the book, Zozia and Ludmilla, are not very memorable, not when compared to other women in the series (such as Olivia, Hero, or Xenya). In fact, one wonders how good a spy/diplomat Zozia really is. However, there are several good points to the novel. Long time fans will welcome the return of Niklos (Olivia's bondsman) and the scenes with Niklos, the Count, and Hroger (Roger) are wonderful to read. The one scene that really stands out is a love scene between the Count and Ludmilla. Many fans refer to a scene between Xenya and the Count in Darker Jewels as one of the greatest or most erotic love scenes in the series; the scene between Ludmilla and the Count in this book rivials that one, and is a reminder that erotic doesn't always have to be graphic sexual descriptions....more
The author gave me a copy in exchange for a review.
People like to think that both racism and sexism are dead, but many of us know that this isn't true
The author gave me a copy in exchange for a review.
People like to think that both racism and sexism are dead, but many of us know that this isn't true. While it might be correct to say that Mrs Bennett in modern England might not be as husband hungry for her daughters, she wouldn't turn up her nose at what's on offer either. In some places, the -isms are more underground, more subtle (Friends takes place in all white NYC, the black man always dies first, and the female scientist is dressed in heels with a mini-skirt. BTW, where did she get that matching vibrator?). Yet, in other parts of the world, even those we see as developed, it is more direct. Last week, for example, there was a mix-up at a maternially ward in India. A couple were first told that they had a boy, and then were later told that, in fact, they had a girl. Even when a blood test ruled them out as parents of the boy, the couple refused the girl and demanded a DNA test because who wants a daughter.
I found myself thinking of that story several times as I read this book. Pullamanna is the middle child of three girls, all raised by their grandmother who is Mrs Bennett mad to get them good husbands. A difficult prospect considering the family's lack of money, but at least a possibility for two of the girls, the two who are light skinned and beautiful. It's a bit more tricky for Pullamanna who is dark, too dark. Too make things worse, Pullamanna's twin Lata wants an education, and well all know education isn't for girls, even girls who are too dark, because the only bad husband is no husband.
What's a grandmother to do?
Then, to make matters worse, Pullamanna becomes a goddess. Maybe.
What then follows in this Pride and Prejudice/ "Cinderella" story is Pullamanna's attempt to find herself and her place in the world. This quest is hard because of the -isms that surrond her, that sometimes she succumbs to as she battles against them, and because of the powerful politician who takes an interest in her family. Atreya looks at culture and how it effects family and oneself. Her characters aren't flat and while the story may take place in a culture of isms, the writer has a large cast of characters that ran the gamut. It isn't a heavy hand moralistic story either, though in some ways it reminds me of a Bollywood movie (and I mean this in a good way).
I debated over whether to give this excellent first novel three or four stars. While Pullamanna and her family are well drawn and believable, I found myself wanting a bit more detail in terms of character growth and the change in relationships. It isn't that the changes do not work, they do, they just a bit more showing and less telling. Once the ground seems to shift too suddenly. Yet despite this somewhat minor flaw, I found myself engrossed in the story. In fact, I was so engrossed that I read snatches when the bus I was on stopped at lights. I know it doesn't sound like much, but I get sick when I read if a bus or car is moving. I can't even look at maps when a car is going. Yet, I kept my Kindle out and read this book during light pauses. That's worth a four star rating.
I fully intend to read the other books Rasana Atreya is sure too write.
This book is an allegory, but a thrilling allegory for all that. It is better and less heavy hand than say the Narnia books. The characters are a littThis book is an allegory, but a thrilling allegory for all that. It is better and less heavy hand than say the Narnia books. The characters are a little flat but the world building is wonderful. Once the story starts moving, it really starts moving...more
I'll proably try reading this again at one point for the fairy motifs, but it is boring the H.E. double hockey sticks out me and I like the idea of taI'll proably try reading this again at one point for the fairy motifs, but it is boring the H.E. double hockey sticks out me and I like the idea of talking horses....more
For some reason, I feel a desire to call for people with pitchforks and torches so we can go attack Parent Groups.
I did not know that Yolen's Briar RoFor some reason, I feel a desire to call for people with pitchforks and torches so we can go attack Parent Groups.
I did not know that Yolen's Briar Rose had been burned. I knew it was on a list of banned and challenged books, but I hadn't known that someone had threw it on the fire.
The problem with people today (okay, one problem with people today, besides the fact that they are people) is that they don't read. They really don't. Everyone on this website is a bloody expection.
What is worse, a good portion of people who read, either read badly, read the wrong thing (which is their right), or read somethng edited for the sake of their "morals". For instance, how many people don't know the bloody version of Cinderella? Or haven't read the Little House books?
This means they lack cultural understanding.
Something Yolen writes about in this book. Yolen makes an elegent and wonderful case not only for reading but for reading books that make people think. Not only does she touch on the effect on the reader in terms of liking the story, but also in terms of emotional development. In many ways, this book could be linked with The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn. Though Yolen's book is far, far more lively.
**spoiler alert** 3.5. I think if I read this when I was younger it would've been a 4 or 5. As an adult, I found the ending a bit rushed and would've**spoiler alert** 3.5. I think if I read this when I was younger it would've been a 4 or 5. As an adult, I found the ending a bit rushed and would've liked to see more of Howl falling for Sophie. It felt too pat.
I loved the whole use of magic in this novel, and the idea of preceptations. Sophie's magic is awesome, and even the smallest characters have life. And the use of doors is totally awesome.
But I loved the fact that Sophie was the eldest. Loved that, and loved the fact that the sisters loved each other. It was a good family.
1. Harry Dresden is a believable character. He learns, he grows, but he does not gain a new power every book. In fact, he doReasons to read this book.
1. Harry Dresden is a believable character. He learns, he grows, but he does not gain a new power every book. In fact, he doesn't seem to gain any power in any of the books. He gains awareness and knowledge.
2. Susan is cool, but flawed like Harry. Love her.
3. Godfather with a helicopter.
4. One of the best love/sex scenes I have ever read. Butcher could write a good romance novel.
5. Good female detective who has smarts.
6. Vampires with bite.
7. Butcher knows his myth, legends, and religion.
8. An agnostic black Russian knight.
9. A woman who knows how to make armor.
10. A good cat.
11. Most importantly, an ending that works in terms of the rules of the series....more
In some ways, the book feels like a YA novel because of the age of many of the centralNot quite as good as The Bone Doll's Twin, but still engrossing.
In some ways, the book feels like a YA novel because of the age of many of the central characters. I had trouble remembering Tobin's age at some points. I also felt that Tobin's revealing of her true self seemed to be accepted a bit too readily by some people. I understand the whole horror pushes belief forward, but more illustration of the horrors even day people saw would have helped.
Still, the book does have its good complex moments. Tobin's reaction to her true state, his embarassment when he looks at women's clothes are all nicely done....more
I must point out that overall I would give the whole series 4-5 stars. I just find this book to be weak.
Let me start with what I didn't like. I foundI must point out that overall I would give the whole series 4-5 stars. I just find this book to be weak.
Let me start with what I didn't like. I found it strange that a book that is, in part, about a woman's strength, only has one young woman. While the two older woman, who had larger parts in the first two books, are well protrayed, Tamir is surronded by men and boys in this last book. This makes sense because she used to "be" a boy. Flewelling, however, brings back Una, but gives her such a small part and so little development that it is pointless to have her there. Una is the second least developed companion; the first would be Una's squire, who gets mentioned by name only twice. There is one female character of Tamir's age who gets some development and that is Tamir's opposing female blood claim rival. This girl is simply the girl in the tower. It's an interesting contrast, but it falls flat because the only girl who we see doing anything is Tamir, so it makes all the other girls look weak and idiotic. (It is also a little uncertain why Tamir will make a better ruler outside of the fact that she is a girl and a better general).
What I also had problems with was the simple good/evil sectioning of the sides in the Civil War. While Tamir's confusion is wonderfully protrayed, if I were a lord, I don't know if I would believe the whole "now he's a she" story. In many ways, this idea of doubt was brushed aside so quickly that it left me slightly uncomfortable. (Though, if you see this series as YA, then it can be forgiven this flaw). Additionally, there is one plot point that does not get the full development it needs (and no, I'm not talking about the bowl), and magic plays too much of a solving role.
Despite these flaws, Flewelling does a masterful job with her two central characters of Tamir and Ki. Their confusion about what has happened is believable and well done. One gets the sense that Flewelling found thier relationship more interesting than the battle for the kingdom. The relationship between the two makes up for the flaws in the novel and drives the novel onward....more
Okay, for you born after the 1990s, I'm talking about the really old ones. You know the ones with the EnterpThere is an old episode of Star Trek . . .
Okay, for you born after the 1990s, I'm talking about the really old ones. You know the ones with the Enterprise attached to a string, with Leonard, with Shatner and his ever changing girdle.
Anyway, in this episode, Lt. Uhura, who is very cool, gets her knowledge zapped by some alien in bad make up.
That's this book, sorta.
The book is about power, knowledge, people, and cost. Very few books deal with cost. This is one of them. I enjoyed this book very much.
See there is this guy and he thinks he is in love with a girl, who is OLDER than he is. But then something bad happens, and then he learns the truth about his religion's prophet and whole bunch of other things.
I had two major problems with this book. I really wanted to like. A Venice with magic and a real griffin. Cool! Sadly, not cool here. One problem I h I had two major problems with this book. I really wanted to like. A Venice with magic and a real griffin. Cool! Sadly, not cool here. One problem I had was the male characters act like boys. I suppose this really isn't a problem, considering the male characters are in fact boys, but the female characters are the same age or younger, but act years older. I'm a woman, I suppose this shouldn't bother me, but it does. True the sexes mature at different rates, but not one male character is mature or likable.
The second problem I had was the book dawdles. There is no other word for it. ...more