Ladies and Gentlemen, this book has been sold to us all wrong. Show of hands: who among you has heard mention of either The Iliad or The Odyssey and r...moreLadies and Gentlemen, this book has been sold to us all wrong. Show of hands: who among you has heard mention of either The Iliad or The Odyssey and rolled your eyes over yet another "classic" work of fiction forced on unsuspecting high school students meant to bore us into submission? Dudes, this is seriously one of the most exciting books I've ever read. It's practically a ... Um, who's the current go-to action hero actor? Anyways, this is the movie he would star in. It's like if you took Quentin Tarantino to ancient Greece, told him to find inspiration, then let him go gonzo on the script without limits.
What's weird is that I thought I hadn't read this, somehow escaping it through my academic career. What I realized later was that I had read parts of it in my "Gender in the Classical World" honors lit class my freshman year of college. (I remembered only when I came on the tale of Circe. I remember having a quiz on this and failing horribly, because I didn't understand the context, but let's not go into a discussion of how poorly my high school prepared its students for the world of higher education.) Even then, I didn't enjoy the book, because the focus was on analyzing. No fault on the instructor; that's appropriate for a college course. But seriously, I feel like I missed out on taking in a landscape painting by a master, because someone blotted out all the canvas excepting a single blade of grass.
I have to admit, there were a few points that made me cringe as a modern reader, but one has to remind themselves that Homer reflected the values and morals of his time, not mine. Still, it was hard to stomach that Penelope is exalted for her commitment to Odysseus, remaining true to him for twenty years. Meantime Odysseus while trying to get home to her has no qualms about being sexed up by whatever goddess or nymph takes a fancy to him, and that's considered okay. Different times, different expectations...
You know why Homer has been passed down and survived through the centuries? Not because he gives us a picture into an ancient culture, religion, and history. Not because of its consequential anthropological richness. Not even because of its lyric quality for those who can read it in its original tongue. (ee cummings proved that language could be beautiful for beauty's sake without being purposeful.) It's because it's one hell of a story, and takes you on one-- actually numerous thrilling, epic adventures. (less)
DNF another uber popular book that just leaves me perplexed upon reading. There's pretension in this one thicker than an Omaha steak. I really, really...moreDNF another uber popular book that just leaves me perplexed upon reading. There's pretension in this one thicker than an Omaha steak. I really, really liked Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and it's always disheartening to read an author you previously enjoyed and have a contrary experience. (less)
Hoover has a nearly unparalleled ability to write intimacy and a scope for treating the tragic with tenderness. Very dark, not meant for readers looki...moreHoover has a nearly unparalleled ability to write intimacy and a scope for treating the tragic with tenderness. Very dark, not meant for readers looking for something uplifting. But, if you're looking for something that shows the power of love to heal, this pins the tail on that donkey. I did keep coming back to two issues, though: no matter how much I tried, and no matter what the two MCs went through that forced them to grow up young, I still questioned that they could have that much maturity and wisdom. Especially Skye. Being that's she's had such an isolated life, I found it difficult to accept she carried such wisdom of the world. Also, some dialog, particularly near the end where the last threads were tied up, sounded very unnatural and as though the characters were speaking in essay form.
Sky's friend, Brecken(Spelling?), seemed to be an afterthought by the end of the book. He was my favorite secondary character, and I really enjoyed the scenes in which he appeared.
Still, one hell of a book, written by one hell of a woman.
Audiobook notes: The performance on this was good to very good, but where the book had a flashback scene spoken first person by Sky as a child, she made her voice so stereotypical little girl sappy it sounded like she was using baby talk. These chapters are few and brief. She did, however, put in a powerful performance with Holder. It's difficult for a woman to pull of a sexy male lead sometimes, but definitely not the case here. (less)
What a humbling story. It was a little difficult to get into the book at first, as it was hard to think of it as the voice of a teenager. It's obvious...moreWhat a humbling story. It was a little difficult to get into the book at first, as it was hard to think of it as the voice of a teenager. It's obvious the co-writer played a heavy hand in structuring much of the historical context. However, the narrative of Ms. Yousafzai comes through strong enough that one is left with an undeliable impression of how valiant her cause is.
Audiobook: I appreciated that the reader selected for this production was a native voice of the region from which Ms. Yousafzai comes. Her ability to effortless present terms and mention places which gave her no qualm made the narrative liquid and flowing. It also was good that the producers chose not to placate the western ear by choosing a reader with an American or British accent. I believe something would have been lost if they had. (less)
THE SCRIBE is a perfect marriage of urban fantasy with tinges of romance. Hunter is truly one of the most talented (and thank goodness, prolific) para...moreTHE SCRIBE is a perfect marriage of urban fantasy with tinges of romance. Hunter is truly one of the most talented (and thank goodness, prolific) paranormal/urban fantasy writers today. Creating a world in which ancient evil battles for turf and the heart, and the innocent are trapped in the crossfire, she leads us on a riveting journey through the streets of Old Istanbul and old magic. And as a student of Turkish history and former frequent visitor to Istanbul, I can tell you her narrative lives and breathes with truth and authenticity.
It's an awesome ride of a novel, and a great kick off to a new series. (less)
I love how Hunter can write paranormal books in which the paranormal elements are both so integral and so elegantly entwined in the story. Unlike many...moreI love how Hunter can write paranormal books in which the paranormal elements are both so integral and so elegantly entwined in the story. Unlike many authors, she doesn't write exposés on mystic creatures; she writes well-constructed tales of characters who live, breath, and love in real time, who just happen to have a little something extra about them. Their conflicts are human, and as such, the reader develops an immense simpatico with each, rooting for or against in a desire for resolution and not out of a lust for the magical. Her voice is engaging and regulated to both tempt and taunt the reader with just enough tease and release to keep you on the edge of your seat.(less)