Parable of the Sower is the collected diaries of a young black woman called Lauren Olamina, living in california in 2025, in an almost apocalyptic tim...moreParable of the Sower is the collected diaries of a young black woman called Lauren Olamina, living in california in 2025, in an almost apocalyptic time. Lauren is a hyperempath, a inherited condition that causes her to feel the pain of other people she sees. Lauren and her family live in a walled community, in fear of thieves and gangs and rapists, and 'paints', people with painted faces addicted to a drug called pyro, that makes them set fire to things for the pleasure of watching it burn. Life is a contstant struggle for Lauren, she's discovering new views about god that she can't share with anyone except her diary. And new ideas about preparation and survival that no one wants to listen to. And then one day their walled community is attacked by a gang of paints, and Lauren's skills are tested for the first time.
I found this novel insanely difficult to get into, I finally gave up after just over 100 pages I believe, so I gave it a fair go, but I never did finish it. Which is disappointing in itself, but I just didn't enjoy it. Usually I love this kind of dystopian/apocalyptic thing, but I just couldn't get into this one.
First I wasn't quite getting into the style of the writing, not the fact that it was a diary, but just the style of it always felt very... detatched. As if even tho Lauren was part of the events around her, that she wasn't connected to them. It felt a little like having blinkers on, I wanted her to look at more things and think about more things. I wanted to know how she felt about feeling other people's pain, but what I felt I was getting was a detatched description of it. I suppose this is understandable, and I could have dealt with it, but only if I didn't have another niggle..
So my ultimate niggle was really just the frustration at not understanding the distaster that was supposed to have happened or happening. The story hinted at some ultimate cause for the apocalyptic type situation they find themselves in now, but it wasn't clearly stated. And I found myself constantly trying to figure out what was going on with the walled communities, the economic failure, the constant violenc and lack of order etc.. At one point I was very confused, as Lauren's friend sat eating a plastic prepackaged bean salad, which to me seemed an extravagance in the middle of an economic crisis where everything costs too much and self sufficiency was becoming more norm. And then I thought.. hang on, if hardly anyone can get a job then who is working in the food packing factory to make the bean salad?
So hopefully you can see where my frustration came from. I think I gave the book a fair chance, and when my confusion wasn't lightened at just over 100 pages I took the choice whether to plod on and hope for revelation.. or give up and read something else; I gave up.
I am disappointed, because Octavia Butler is highly recommended by certain of my friends, and the rarity of finding a black author writing black characters is quite something interesting in this genre. I would very likely try another book by the same author just to give her another good chance. But sorry this was not for me. (less)
The 5th and penultimate in the Elric series, like the previous books it's divided into 3 short stories. In the first The stealer of souls, Elric has a...moreThe 5th and penultimate in the Elric series, like the previous books it's divided into 3 short stories. In the first The stealer of souls, Elric has another run in with the sorceror Theleba K'aarna, who is still insanely mad at Elric for 'making' Yishana fall in love with him. But of course it's not Elric's fault, he's just naturally good with the ladies, and he doesn't even want Yishana. Then Kings in Darkness, where Elric finds and falls in love with Zarozinia. It must be love this time, as Elric decides to give up his sword Stormbringer, and go back to supporting his life with drugs instead of the stolen life-force that his sword shares with him. In The flame bringers, Elrics companion Moonglum warns Elric of a Warband who are laying waste to various cities and on their way to the city where Elric lives with Zarozinia. The warband have a captured their own sorceror, by subduing the cat in which he attempted to hide his soul.. Then we have an Epilogue To Rescue Tanelorn, which is a short story, not about Elric, but about one of his previous companions Rackhir the Red Archer, who lives now in the eternal city of Tanelorn. Tanelorn is about to come under attack by forces of Chaos, and so Rackhir goes in search of the Grey Lords, who server neither Law nor Chaos, but may be willing to aid Tanelorn.
These Elric novels are always so hard to review, because so much happens in such a short space of time. To me, Moorcocks style of writing, is like the opposite of a politicians.. where a politician will try to say as little as possible in as many words as possible, Moorcock has a very good go at writing as much as possible in as few words as possible. And yet his writing is still so creative and descriptive. It's hard to see how he manages to cram so much in without messing up the story, but he does. At the end of this book I was quite knackered really!
Getting hard each time to write reviews for these. So much happened in this book that it would be impossible to sum it up properly, so it's easier jus...moreGetting hard each time to write reviews for these. So much happened in this book that it would be impossible to sum it up properly, so it's easier just to think of what the highlights were for me.
Mostly I was happy to finally see the fabled city of Tanelorn. I loved the idea all along that there was a city that exists in every world and lasts for all time. I was glad it turned out to be more than just a myth.
Not many fantasy novels use the somewhat sci-fi device of alternate realities, but Moorcock uses it very well. In this book Elric actually travels again to another world where he meets with two of his alternate selves, previous future or parallel incarnations of himself, it's hard to tell. And I've since learned that these are actually main characters from some of Moorcock's other books, which is a really good plot device to use, to say that each of his heroes are facets of eachother. This is a device that David Eddings could have used!
Things are somewhat confusing at times when Elric refers to things that have happened in the past. I believe it may be because the books weren't written in their chronological order, and things may have been changed around (is this true?). But Elric once thinks back about Yrkoon usurping his throne, but having recently read the previous books I ended up shouting at Elric "but you left him in charge, you fool!".
Elric returns to Melnibone, with several fleets of mercenary ships, to take back the throne and his fiancee, from his evil cousin Yrkoon. And things g...moreElric returns to Melnibone, with several fleets of mercenary ships, to take back the throne and his fiancee, from his evil cousin Yrkoon. And things go absolutely horribly wrong. Would be hard to say much more without - what I consider to be - spoilers!
I thought the beginning of the book was somewhat anticlimatic after the first 2 books. And I am still quietly bitching at Elric for leaving his fiancee and Kingdom to Yrkoon at the end of book 1, what did you think would happen?!
But all Elric seems to want deep down is answers to life the universe and everything. If the lords of chaos and law are not absolute, who created them? His search for knowledge ultimately leads him on adventure. And I can't help but be drawn along with him.
In this book, more than the previous 2, I was struck by how much of an anti-hero Elric really is. How easily he abandons his friends to save his own skin, and how quickly he forgets and moves onto his next quest and adventure.
And then how easily I forgive him for his capricious nature. I'm already forgetting what I was annoyed with him for. I love the Elric books and I can't wait to read the next one on my shelf.
The second book in the Elric series. Elric decides he needs some self improvement, and that he should take a year out from being Emperor and travel th...moreThe second book in the Elric series. Elric decides he needs some self improvement, and that he should take a year out from being Emperor and travel the lesser kingdoms. I think his idea is that he could better understand the younger human races by living amongst them, but hatred of melniboneans is so rife that Elric has little luck, and instead ends up wandering despondently on some random lonely shoreline. When up rolls the mist and a mysterious boat! And this boat travels the seas between all times and universes! Ah Elric, here is your ticket to adventure!
There were many things I loved about this book, but to describe too much would be to give away important plot parts, but suffice to say there were many wierd things in many stranges places and it was all very exciting and fun :)
I am still dying to find out what happened to Melnibone in all the time Elric was away, cos he went and left his traitorous cousin on the throne, I guess that'll make in interesting 3rd book.