"Pagan in Exile" is the second in a four-book series about Pagan Kidrouk, a Christian Arab from Jerusalem who joins the Order of the Temple...more3 1/2 stars
"Pagan in Exile" is the second in a four-book series about Pagan Kidrouk, a Christian Arab from Jerusalem who joins the Order of the Temple. In this book, 17-year-old Pagan serves as the squire of Sir Roland Roucy de Bram, a Templar Knight, who has gone home to recruit men for the Second Crusade. However, Sir Roland's family is content to stay and wallow in dirt, eat and drink to oblivion, and fight petty wars with neighboring fiefdoms.
The reader experiences the story unfold through Pagan’s eyes and thoughts, and at first I found the chopped up sentences Catherine Jinks uses disorienting, as well as how Pagan can sound devoted to his master one moment and belligerent the next. Still, the book provides a good glimpse into the everyday squalor and violence that characterized the Middle Ages. I would want to go back and read the first book "Pagan's Crusade", as well as read the third and fourth books "Pagan's Vows" and “Pagan's Scribe”, if only for more glimpses into life during that period.(less)
While playing the computer game “Only You Can Save Mankind”, 12-year-old Johnny Maxwell receives a message from the captain of the ScreeWee wishing to...moreWhile playing the computer game “Only You Can Save Mankind”, 12-year-old Johnny Maxwell receives a message from the captain of the ScreeWee wishing to surrender. At first Johnny is bewildered; weren’t aliens in computer games only there to be shot at and die? But soon he accepts the mission to save the ScreeWee from annihilation by his fellow game players.
With this book Pratchett has written a commentary against the 1990s Gulf War, which can apply to all wars in general, in a way that is easy for his young readers to comprehend, and he manages to make it entertaining as well. To humans the ScreeWee are the enemy, and to ScreeWee we humans are the enemy. It is all a matter of perspective and of whose side you are on, so who is to say that what one side is doing is the right thing and what the other side is doing is wrong?
Pratchett also shows his readers that one need not be intelligent or talented like Kirsty/Sigourney to make a difference. Even someone as ordinary as Johnny can do it, because he was the only one who listened and was willing to try. Every one of us is given the opportunity for change, and it is up to us if we are willing to take on the challenge.
“Only you can save mankind. If not you, who else?”(less)
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in place of her younger sister as District 12's female tribute in the country's hunger games, an annual s...moreSixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers in place of her younger sister as District 12's female tribute in the country's hunger games, an annual survival-of-the-fittest, and becomes entangled in a bigger game with higher stakes.
Oft compared to the Japanese film "Battle Royale", the series, composed of three books - "The Hunger Games", "Catching Fire", and "Mockingjay" - goes further than the brutality and horror of "kill or be killed" and focuses on the characters and the world that produced the games. It feels like a coming-of-age story, except the reader knows that Katniss grew up before her time in the name of survival.
The best book in the trilogy for me is "Mockingjay". I think it is the most real of the three books. It shows us that we don't always get what we want. People sometimes come to hate the ones they love. And love does not make our family and friends immune to suffering and death.
Heroes die. Winning the war does not mean that things will immediately become better. It may take years, even generations, for true change to be felt. But as long as there is life, one must not give up.(less)