**spoiler alert** If there is one thing I hate (or several things that pile up to get me going) it is a book that moralizes at me while using every st**spoiler alert** If there is one thing I hate (or several things that pile up to get me going) it is a book that moralizes at me while using every stereotype under the sun to belittle the depth of teenagers, more specifically teenage girls. Nicholas Sparks has done so with a deft hand here. He first distracts you with the G-rated soft core porn for those too pure of heart to read a good Harlequin, and then hits you upside the head with a hefty Bible during the surprise encounter. Plenty of slut-shaming and preaching which might have dragged my enjoyment level up to three stars.
Please make sure you take some stat points in not being emotionally manipulated, because that is next up, as Sparks is not afraid to grasp ahold of your fear of mortality should you have one, and drag out the contrived plot device of "let's give someone the Big "C", and make sure they die", because we haven't ever seen that before. Also, lie to your children about it, because that is always a good idea, and will probably end well, especially in the magical world of fiction. Sparks has made sure to drag out the pain and suffering of the poor person with cancer who has now found all of his peace in a higher being and how it changes his wayward daughter's life and makes her suddenly realize she does want to be a concert pianist after all. Someone give this guy an award.
I am ashamed of the $8.50 I spent on this book because the waiting list at the library was too long last summer. Should have been a clue when eight months later I hadn't read the damned book...
Perhaps the movie is better? I doubt it since Sparks wrote the screenplay himself, though I do enjoy Miley Cyrus post Montana (I am not afraid to admit this), and am a long-time fan of Greg Kinnear. If I listen to Roger Ebert, the actor playing Will could have a bright future should he avoid future Sparks roles. But I would have to agree with Ebert, Sparks is no Cormac McCarthy, and I am willing to wager than even having read no McCarthy myself....more
**spoiler alert** I would challenge anyone who is in the military and has read this prior to joining to read this again.
After discussing this with my**spoiler alert** I would challenge anyone who is in the military and has read this prior to joining to read this again.
After discussing this with my husband, I told him that my military experience may have added another layer to my perception of this book.
Understanding that the military sees and understands things that many civilians could not hope to glean from everyday de-classed life, the training process of Ender and his Battle School and Command School peers, while obviously extreme in a fantasy setting (though, I believe OSC may have had a fondness for an Atari as a youth), is set in a way that is understandable to me. The tearing down, the isolation (again, not as extreme), and the belief that some things just have to be done in order to preserve the lives of people who don't realize they are being protected.
In my work I find much resistance to military forces, people insisting that pacifism is the best way, and despite my past I may have indicated an inner lean towards such desires without realizing what I was truly saying. But, Ender's Game expresses a theme that deep down I know to be true, that standing military forces are important. We must be willing to defend ourselves, or we risk going the way of the Naked Empire from Terry Goodkind's eponymous segment of the Sword of Truth Series (and I swear to you this will be the only time I say "wow, that Terry Goodkind dude was kind of right!)
Interestingly, the most convincing argument on this point is made by Colonel Graff, who I find to be a sympathetic character, someone who believed that he was doing what was right for the good of the whole, even if it pained him to cause hurt to one. On page 253, when Ender asks him why they are fighting the buggers, Graff tells him that the buggers attacked first, that they were provoked into defending themselves. He says:
"Ender, believe me, there's a century of discussion on this very subject. Nobody knows the answer. When it comes down to it, though, the real decision is inevitable: If one of us has to be destroyed, let's make damn sure we're the ones alive at the end. Our genes won't let us decide any other way. Nature can't evolve a species that hasn't a will to survive. Individuals might be bred to sacrifice themselves, (254) but the race as a whole can never decide to cease to exist."
People have a right and an innate sense to survive, and if we don't take measures to ensure that survival, the first tyrant or entity with the power to do so will take control. And if we are unwilling to defend ourselves then we deserve to be controlled. The nigh collapse at the end of the book shows that anyone with the initiative to do just that can do it (though I admittedly haven't read the subsequent series, either of them).
This isn't to say that military powers should not be controlled to ensure they are always used justly. Something I could expound upon in a more appropriate place.
I found Ender's Game fascinating for many reasons, from it's view of the future, Card's ability to predict what future technology would look like, his foray into the world of what life would be like for military-constructed child geniuses, and what it would be like to build a military out of children. It is a cruel and cold world build on necessity, and it is a many-layered book that could produce an incredibly lengthy review.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and have endeared myself to Ender and Valentine (and also liked the name-puns he used to characterize several of the people inserted into the story)....more
This book is definitely written for fans of the game Dragon Age: Origins. No doubt, and I doubt that David Gaider would ever say otherwise. It is a goThis book is definitely written for fans of the game Dragon Age: Origins. No doubt, and I doubt that David Gaider would ever say otherwise. It is a good follow-up to Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne, which I also enjoyed, as a kind of candy bar, though my brain had a hard time reconciling one of the main characters as a sympathetic and actually decent man. Lots of nice background for something I enjoy, that being a video game I consider well-done.
The book gives more background on characters you meet in the world of DA:O, and Dragon Age: Awakenings. fleshing out more of their backgrounds and giving you an idea of their history that you would not get by just playing a 40-hour+ video game (especially since a couple never actually appear in the game and are only ever spoken of). However, there are elements that, in my opinion, would not make complete sense if you haven't spent a great deal of time faffing about as the playable Warden in the Gaider's game.
The fantasy is enjoyable from a gamer's perspective, though from a perspective of a critical thinker, I found myself wondering why it is that certain classes of people, who by coincidence (?) always wind up dead or sacrificing themselves. Here's a hint: it is never the straight white dude in shining armor. Without giving too much away, I was disappointed by the deaths of two characters at points when I thought that their story-line would have been better served in other ways (ie, not giving up and dying, or not being suddenly cut down by the bad guy just when they seemed about to save the day).
Gaider's book, like most of the DA universe seems to frequently position its female characters into positions where they will either be disposable (two dead queens) or as betrayers bent on seeking power or fortune. The reason I find it disappointing is because the Dragon Age universe seems to reach out to forcefully show that it is presenting women equally, yet we find frequent examples of women in evil, betraying, power-hungry, or disposable roles, or they are brood mares, many times literally.
There is also a glaring lack of people who are not "pale" or otherwise white, with very few exceptions, yet refreshingly this is not positioned in a "light is good, dark is bad" way with regards to people. Only with blood and the corruption of the taint, which is another discussion altogether.
The fantasy is well created, the actions scenes are a nice mix of game-related language and combat description to paint the battles in your head. There are many moments of endearment that will almost require your hanky. If you are a fan of the game lore, the Epilogue will leave you wondering if this is in fact a change to everything you thought you knew.
I enjoyed it immensely, would probably read it again on a sick day stuck in bed, and would recommend it to my gamer friends. And my husband....more
**spoiler alert** Interesting and well written. Fun to read a story that makes Loghain a sympathetic and positive character. Many parallels between Ma**spoiler alert** Interesting and well written. Fun to read a story that makes Loghain a sympathetic and positive character. Many parallels between Maric and his bastard son, Alistair, yet to come from Dragon Age: Origins, and it is fun to see how similar they are. If you didn't like Alistair, you will not enjoy Maric.
Fun read. Gaider has a great world he has created....more