Bestiality. Kidnapping. Mugging. Ye olde carjacking. Burglary. Assault. Murder. Female paedophiles. Incest. Male rape. Adultery. Animal cruelty. SeriaBestiality. Kidnapping. Mugging. Ye olde carjacking. Burglary. Assault. Murder. Female paedophiles. Incest. Male rape. Adultery. Animal cruelty. Serial killers in the making. Poisonings. Homosexual priest gangbangs. Shapeshifting. Gods and goddesses. The Seven Deadly Sins. Evil mother-in-laws. Drama. Comedy. Tragedy. Adventure. Romance. Horror. Urban legends. Stories within stories. Inspiration for that Hannibal episode where a person was sewn into a dead horse's belly.
What doesn't The Golden Ass have?
At this point I should probably be comparing The Golden Ass to the brutality shown in Game of Thrones, only this is much less about political maneuvering and Machiavellian plotting, but still, they're both not for the faint of heart. The Golden Ass is one of the first, or the first, human-to-animal transformation stories that run in the same vein as Disney's Brother Bear and The Emperor's New Groove.
With all of the beatings Lucius received as a helpless slave in donkey form, carrying loads too heavy for his four-legged form, having his fur set on fire, never allowed rest when he most needs it and forced to continue on or have his feet tied together to be hurled off a cliff - because that's what they did to lame animals - I feel like I need to donate to The Donkey Sanctuary.
For a 1,900 year old novel, you realise that nothing's really changed in that time, socially speaking.
Sex scenes are surprisingly good. There's no hesitation. No repressed sexuality. No self-esteem issues. And all manner of positions are attempted.
'The only redeeming feature of this catastrophic transformation was that my natural endowment had grown too.'
Typical man. Turned into a donkey and he's impressed with the increase in the size of his manhood.
Yelling 'FIRE!' when being burgled and in need of help:
'Then, leaving him there fatally crucified, he climbed to the roof of his hovel and shouted at the top of his voice to summon the neighbours; calling each one by name he gave out that his house had suddenly caught fire, reminding them that this involved the safety of them all. So everybody, frightened by the danger next door, came running in alarm to help.'
Well, it's been proven. Video games don't make kids violent, a lack of video games does. Imagination is a dangerous thing. So many inventive ways to torture and kill, to humiliate and degrade. The devil makes work for idle hands, as they say. So parents, quickly stuff a Playstation controller into your little one's hands before they turn their minds to dastardly deeds.
Certain aspects of The Golden Ass really do get you thinking about contentious issues.
How do you define bestiality? Lucius is a man turned into a donkey. When it's proposed that he'll be allowed his choice of horses with which to procreate - is that bestiality? Is Lucius's fornication as an ass with a human woman bestiality? Does the fact that he has a human mind inside an animal body change the status of the sexual relationship?
Surprisingly, Apuleius doesn't deliver the stereotype paedophile. A lusty married woman sets her sights on her stepson. Oddly this is labelled incest though there appears to be no blood connection. And it's the same with rape. A cuckolded husband rapes his adulterous wife's toyboy lover as punishment. Perhaps male paedophiles and rapists were stereotypes even 2,000 years ago.
The feminist in me feels compelled to point out the unbalanced female representation. Many women were demonised as witches who pee on men's faces, who steal body parts from the dead, who are complicit in evil deeds, who are nymphomaniacs, adulterers, paedophiles, vain and jealous grudge-holding goddesses. Psyche (myth), Photis (Lucius's servant lover) and Byrrhena (Lucius's aunt) are the only exceptions.
The Abduction of Psyche by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
During Lucius's journey, the stories he hears are mostly told at the dinner table, around the fire, as a distraction on a long journey, or as a comfort to distraught kidnap victims. Understandably storytelling was their main form of entertainment. Well, that and gossip, which was free or you provided a meal for the teller. I really enjoyed the mythical telling of Psyche and Cupid.
Each of the 11 'books' are self-contained chapters of about 20 pages with a spoiler-y summary of what's to come at the beginning, so it was easy to dip in and out. I wasn't particularly happy with the ending, in fact I skimmed and skipped around at that point. I can understand Lucius's gratefulness at the chance to become human again, and I'm aware of that ancient tradition of 'a life saved, is a life owed' [see Azeem of 1991's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves], but I have an issue with blind faith. Lucius walks away from his previous life to devote himself and his future to worshipping his rescuer. That's just weird, from my 21st century non-religious perspective.
The translation very much played a part in my enjoyment of this ancient novel. I carefully researched which was right for me. I chose the Kenney edition as it seemed the least stilted of those available, and I'm glad I made that choice.
I never thought I'd enjoy a 2,000 year old novel, but I did. And you might, too.
**spoiler alert** Ah Aeron, he seemed so without emotion (except wrath of course), so inhuman but boy were we wrong. Olivia lit his emotions up like a**spoiler alert** Ah Aeron, he seemed so without emotion (except wrath of course), so inhuman but boy were we wrong. Olivia lit his emotions up like a Christmas tree! I loved Aeron's story but I always find it difficult when Showalter doesn't give us a 100% happy ending. There are sacrifices made and I know these things can't always be perfect but dammit I want them to be!
As for the other characters, well at the moment I really don't like Scarlet (Nightmares) and I'm guessing she will be Gideon's. I love Gideon in this one by the way. His interaction with Olivia was entertaining!
Although I don't particularly like the path Selena is now set on I'm glad that she hopefully will be returned to Paris. It will be interesting to see how she copes with being the very thing she hates. No doubt she will be used as a pawn by Cronus to bargain with the Lords, especially Paris.
William and Gilly, aw their feelings and interactions were so sweet. I hope they become an item in the future when Gilly's a little older. Perhaps she'll be the one to make William settle down.
Galen and Legion -wow, I did not see that coming! He seemed genuinely intrigued with her right up until she tried to kill him. I wonder how he survived her poison and whether he really is intent on revenge or whether he just wants to possess her. Great stuff!...more
Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex) did a brilliant job in voicing the title role of Oedipus in what I found to be an 'easier' to understand translation byMichael Sheen (Masters of Sex) did a brilliant job in voicing the title role of Oedipus in what I found to be an 'easier' to understand translation by Duncan Steen for the full cast audio.
I'm glad I've finally read the famous, fabulously sensational story of incest and patricide about the man who kills his father and marries his mother, after encountering Freud's derivative Oedipus Complex in psychology class a decade ago.
Sophocles showcases the limitations of prophecy in stating the destination without providing details of the journey, and therefore a way to avoid the outcome. Had Oedipus's father not been told of the prophecy, would Oedipus have still fulfilled it? Laius would never have ordered his son to be ripped from his mother and left to die on a hillside had he not not known of the prophecy; and Oedipus would've grown up knowing his parents whereupon the Westermarck effect would come into play. So, is the Delphic oracle at fault here? Should he take some modicum of responsibility for Oedipus's crimes by putting him on the path to committing them? Every cause has an effect and every effect, a cause.
Coincidence or fate? Again, if Oedipus hadn't been informed of the prophecy he wouldn't have met his real father on that crossroads, but as soon as he did, his fate was sealed.
I liked the symbolism of the action at the three-way crossroads. King Laius and his entourage tried to push Oedipus off the road which resulted in a skirmish to the death. Oedipus prevailed by killing all but one of his attackers who escaped. However, the deaths were reported as a robbery homicide - to save face, perhaps? Obviously the king wasn't well guarded if one man could slay him and all of his men. If Oedipus is right and the king's men instigated the incident, was killing them self-defence? Oedipus is presented as an honest and honorable king who takes great pride in his good character. I doubt he'd lower himself to robbery when outnumbered and afterwards feel no guilt over his 'youthful misdeed' when his latter guilt cripples him.
Free will only applies to the control of one's own actions and the ability to influence that of others'. Oedipus is unable to exert enough control over his life to make informed decisions when he'd been lied to about his identity so it's difficult to blame him for crimes he'd committed unwittingly. Rather than a heinous criminal, Oedipus is painted as a pitiable figure. Self-inflicted punishment is meted out instead of the judgement and execution of societal justice, because no can hurt you more than yourself. Self-condemnation, self-mutilation and self-banishment from his home is punishment enough.
Ignorance and an inability to look beyond the superficial is expressed as a disadvantage of the ability to see, while blindness confers insight into the truth of things with a painfully sharp clarity. Oedipus mocks Tiresias for his blindness, claiming it hinders his ability to see the truth. Tiresias hits back, mocking Oedipus with a statement representing the exact opposite. Yet Oedipus, upon realising the truth of his actions, dashes out his own eyes in anguished horror after witnessing the dead swinging body of his shamed wife and mother, his psychological pain seemingly blotting out the physical.
I completely understand why this is a beloved classic. I'm sure I could get more out of it with each listen or read. I have only one complaint: I didn't really understand the Chorus. On the audio, many people spoke those words in unison and I thought this obscured the pronunciation, however, I did seek out a free ebook edition online to re-read those parts and they still made little sense to me.
I think I made a small mistake when I chose this to read. It was a little too young for me but I was impressed with the use of Greek mythology and theI think I made a small mistake when I chose this to read. It was a little too young for me but I was impressed with the use of Greek mythology and the way we weren’t told right away what each creature was. This lead me to guess and when I got it right it fed my ego, and when I had no idea I wanted to reach for a mythology book to look-up the specific myth to see how closely the book followed the actual story.
This and the humour kept me hooked though I admit my attention sometimes waned in the second half. There were times when Percy was having a slooow moment when I just wanted to yell at him to make that mental leap faster, or the eye-rolling in reaction to a cliché. Obviously these problems may have been down to me forgetting that Percy is only twelve and perhaps that may have been part of why I couldn’t see him as a “hero”. I had trouble picturing him fighting, the battles were fast and I never felt like he was in much danger. He always escaped usually without being injured, not even so much as a scratch and if he does get injured his wound is healed almost instantly.
The gods, though they were described as powerful, radiating deadly auras I didn’t feel Percy’s fear. I also didn’t think Percy’s reaction to his mother’s death was all that realistic. If it had been my mother I would have been an incoherent mess for days, Percy bounced back yet he supposedly adored his mother, this didn’t ring true for me even with his denial I couldn’t accept his reaction as normal behaviour.
I loved the application of Greek mythology and the inventiveness of certain scenes. I must say, I expected the entrance to the underworld to be in Las Vegas rather than Los Angeles, after all Vegas is supposed to be sin city. If I had read this at ten I would have loved it but having read stories that follow a similar (and rather tired) formula I can only give this 3 stars.
An afterthought: I bet this made a great movie, it's very visual....more
Well, this was different. In a good way, of course. Most books that use mythology tend to stick with the Greek and Roman pantheon, instead this focuseWell, this was different. In a good way, of course. Most books that use mythology tend to stick with the Greek and Roman pantheon, instead this focuses on the Egyptian one. Let me just say that I love Ancient Egypt and it's mythology. I've been to Egypt, visited exhibits and so on so this was something I was eager to read.
Sins of the Heart follows Dagan Krayle, the eldest son of Seth, the Egyptian god of chaos. All of his 4 sons are Darksoul reapers -they reap the souls of evildoers and feed them to their father who consumes their energy, preventing them from having any sort of afterlife and any chance at reincarnation, effectively destroying them completely.
Dagan meets a 19 year old Roxy on a reap of a kidnapper and murderer. She's been kidnapped and is trying to escape. Dagan admires her courage and is tempted to release her though it goes against the rules when she sees him take the heart and soul he came for. He spots her necklace which is of the Daughters of Aset -the enemies of his father. He knows she isn't one of them yet but advises her to stay away from the unless she wants to become his enemy, and though she doesn't want that she feels she has no choice and joins them anyway.
Eleven years later, one of Dagan's brother's has been killed. Seth is furious, he wants vengeance and his son's body so that he can resurrect him and find out who murdered him. Everything points to the Daughters of Aset and in Dagan's investigation he finds a necklace of a dead woman which matches Roxy's and prays she's not dead. He goes searching for her hoping she's leading the normal life he wished for her on the day he broke the rules and let her go free.
There was a lot of world building in the first 200 pages or so which I appreciate but the romance did suffer a bit because of this. There was a brief scene between the Dae and Roxy where they met and then were reunited after those 200 pages so the romance had less time to blossom even though both Dae and Roxy were yearning for each other in the 11 years they were parted.
The plot was solid and interesting though at times a little complicated with 6 or more POVs but I understand why all of these were necessary. The mystery behind which god is backing the destruction of Seth and his kin is a difficult one to guess at with so many different factors involved.
This is a complex book which though confusing at times, I enjoyed. I will definitely be continuing the series very soon so I don't have time to forget anything. 3.5 stars....more
We’ve all tried to lose weight at some point in our lives but this is different. Within the first 10 pages I was both appalled and horrified that peopWe’ve all tried to lose weight at some point in our lives but this is different. Within the first 10 pages I was both appalled and horrified that people suffer so much from these eating disorders. And it’s not described to purposely shock, it is shocking. It’s part of their lives. It is their lives.
On the very first page we witness seventeen year old Lisa’s suicide attempt after fighting with her boyfriend, feeling depressed after her former friend Suzanne tells her she’s anorexic, realising she’s angry and her feeling of emptiness all lead her to feel that life isn’t worth living anymore. She just wants it all to stop.
Something as simple as licking a tear from the corner of her mouth has her thinking it’s okay to do so because it’s calorie-free. When faced with food, every bad ingredient is rattled off by the Thin voice in her head followed by the number of calories they contain and the time required to burn them off on her exercise bike. Her obsessive compulsive actions lead her to eat little and exercise to exhaustion, and what she does eat is the epitome of health. No junk food. She even agonises over eating a simple French fry.
And Misery loves company. Lisa’s anorexic but her best friend’s bulimic. Tammy reinforces her twisted relationship with food as Lisa feels like a failure for not being able to throw up on command and is in awe of the fact that Tammy can ‘bring up a doughnut in thirty seconds’. Sadly, she thinks this is apparently something to be proud of.
Lisa’s struggle to become a better anorexic is downright scary. Her need to control every aspect of her body, frightening. But in her pursuit of this goal she fails to realise that her body is crying out for sustenance. Her confusion and trouble remembering things that only happened the day before and the absence of her period which at first she mistook for a pregnancy scare, then later believed it was just down to stress.
As Lisa describes her dream in which she’s told she is the new Famine, Tammy calmly tells her: “Your own personal Columbine. That’s what your Famine is. Your subconscious just wrapped the rage up in a food image, instead of a freak-with-a-gun image. You relate better to food, that’s all.”
An anorexic who chooses to not eat becomes Famine, something that means that choice is taken away is an interesting idea, it’s what drew me to this book in the first place. Well, after seeing the beautiful cover, anyway.
I enjoyed the symbolism of the Scales of office and the need for balance between being starved to doing things to excess or gluttony, and how one can counteract the other but it’s all down to perception. Lisa’s perception that she’s fat when everyone around her believes she’s too thin, being angry at those who eat to excess and feeling guilty for depriving herself of food when others don’t have a choice but to go hungry.
The horses made interesting supporting characters, seeing things from Midnight’s point of view as an immortal guide to their ever changing riders. Even War’s perspective helped me to see the change in Lisa, how her role as Famine had an impact on how she approached life. The riders all contributed: Death with his strange sense of humour and philosophical musings, Pestilence with his philanthropic way of seeing things and War with her bloodthirsty and forthright anger.
I couldn’t help but wonder if her meeting with Death and the other horsemen, and her role as Famine was real or imaginary though their role in her journey obviously helped her. You wouldn’t think it would considering they’re harbingers of the apocalypse.
After reading about Lisa’s disturbing thought processes and observing her behaviour, I had a fervent wish that please god, let this girl be okay. When she is confronted again by Suzanne and her boyfriend James, she is so distressed at them calling her anorexic that I had conflicting thoughts on whose side I should be on, when sanity told me to be on the side that makes her seek help.
Then finally we hear the three words that I’ve been desperate to read: “You’re too thin”. They come from the most unlikely source. Then again this person was so straight talking and direct, and the truth hurts.
I find that YA rarely touches upon such serious topics and I’m very glad that the author was brave enough to share some of her own experiences as she explains in the Author’s Notes at the back. I’m not certain why I’m not giving this 5 stars because it’s definitely something I’d slip to a friend with similar troubles, hoping it would help them in some way.
eBook received for review courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company....more
Ever felt so rage-filled with the lust for violent vengeance that you've envisioned slaughtering someone? I've done this, we've probably all done thisEver felt so rage-filled with the lust for violent vengeance that you've envisioned slaughtering someone? I've done this, we've probably all done this at one time. However, we don't always act on it and instead find an outlet to work through it but Missy allows herself only one outlet, a painfully unhealthy one -cutting herself.
You could see some of her need to 'let out the badness' as she feels like she has no one to talk to when her parents are mostly too busy with work to spend time with their children and Missy has been at war (pun intended) with her younger sister since she started high school and turned into Missy's opposite, the barbie-doll cheerleader. What Missy didn't realise until later was that she always had someone on her side -Erica, the childhood friend she had pushed away but came to her aid at a crucial moment, saving her life:
"I want to die," Missy said, her soul naked and raw. "I'll be there in two minutes," Erica said.
I loved Erica in that moment.
I didn't enjoy Rage as much as I did Hunger, maybe because cutting is not something the author has personally experienced (see Author's Note) though it's evident that it's been extremely well-researched but I did feel Missy's pain and embarrassment regarding a mother of all acts of bullying and the cyber-bullying afterwards.
I was unhappy that my thirst for righteous karmic justice for Missy wasn't quenched. People deserved to pay and although I commend Missy's strength in turning the other cheek, I wanted them to feel her pain. To suffer as she had at their hands. Perhaps that's me being bloody-minded but I secretly hoped something nasty befalls those that hurt her and wished her dead.
Missy's blinding rage, the urge to hunt and kill her enemies, her blood lust, I could fully understand and couldn't fault her for it. I could even forgive her if she'd acted on it. Her bullies as well as the bystanders should understand this isn't acceptable because you can never predict what someone is capable of in retaliation, why we should always strive to treat others as we want to be treated. Just in case.
I was glad to see that her being recruited for the position of War (and Death's handmaiden) helped her accept herself as she is with Death's help. Which reminds me there are some funny pokes at Death: i.e. Missy slamming the door in his face, lusting after and kissing him, etc.
Despite my disappointment in my unfulfilled need for vengeance this is still a great book with amazing insights into the world today and would definitely recommend it to others. I'm looking forward to Loss on Pestilence, who intrigued me with his mental as well as physical illness in this instalment....more
This a visually stunning masterpiece with so many vibrant paintings (sometimes covering two pages), photos of artefacts, pretty illustrations and a woThis a visually stunning masterpiece with so many vibrant paintings (sometimes covering two pages), photos of artefacts, pretty illustrations and a wonderful gold and black colour scheme.
Myths and Legends is no encyclopaedia but it does cover the general myths of Europe, West and Central Asia, South and East Asia, Africa, the Americas including the Caribbean and Oceania with at least 20 pages on each.
Though a third of the book is about Europe there is enough on other parts of the world to give you a starting point to work from if you are interested in finding out more.
The myths range from Beowulf to Oedipus to Shiva to the myths of the Navajo (a tribe of Native Americans), the Maori, the Maya, the Taino (the first settlers of the Caribbean) and so many more.
My only grievance is that the titles and artists of the stunning artwork showcased here are not always named.
Very well constructed and easy to read. Suitable for all ages. ...more
Weirdly this made more sense to me after I'd read it. It's so short but it's more complicated than I expected. I didn't get the terminology as I was rWeirdly this made more sense to me after I'd read it. It's so short but it's more complicated than I expected. I didn't get the terminology as I was reading but now that I'm done, it makes more sense. If you're going to read this be prepared to take your time. Sadly, this is the only work by Ilona Andrews that I've not enjoyed, it just wasn't for me....more
This is an old book (1970s) I inherited from my father. It's rather intense so I only refer to it when one of my 'newer' books can't answer one of myThis is an old book (1970s) I inherited from my father. It's rather intense so I only refer to it when one of my 'newer' books can't answer one of my questions. My favourite sections would be the one on Common Mythological Themes (e.g. creation, the hero, the mother goddess etc.) and the Mythology of Animals (e.g. chimera, dragon, phoenix, unicorn etc.).
The layout and the quality of the pictures are a little outdated but other than that it's still a good book....more