A very visceral, cautionary tale of stolen objects and the enduring strength of love. I very much enjoyed the characters and setting, but thought this...moreA very visceral, cautionary tale of stolen objects and the enduring strength of love. I very much enjoyed the characters and setting, but thought this could have served better in a longer form. Otherwise, a satisfying, though, bloody read. Recommended.(less)
The Golden Compass (or Northern Lights everywhere else in the world) is a story about a girl named Lyra Belacqua that earns the name Silvertongue.
Lyra...moreThe Golden Compass (or Northern Lights everywhere else in the world) is a story about a girl named Lyra Belacqua that earns the name Silvertongue.
Lyra’s story begins at Oxford’s Jordon College where she inadvertently witnesses what she thinks is a crime against her uncle, but turns out to be so much more. She is soon wading in the depths of a world-spanning mystery to help save kidnapped children, her estranged father, and ultimately the universe (in the next two books, I imagine).
Lyra’s world is familiar to ours, or rather, 19th century England, but fundamentally different. One of the most striking differences are dæmons. Dæmons are soul-like creatures. Every human has one, except those that have had their dæmons wretched from them. And that’s exactly why Lyra must save the kidnapped children. Because someone, someone unimaginably close to Lyra, is cutting children’s souls apart. On her journey to save those children, Lyra encounters natural wonders (the northern lights), witches, bears, and a betrayal so deep, it sends her to another world.
The story is told primarily from Lyra’s point of view. Through talks between herself and her dæmon, we learn to love and respect this spunky, intelligent girl as she discovers a world full of sin and politics. I recommend this book to every child who loves adventure, no matter their age. I wholeheartedly give this book five HUGE stars.(less)
Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue is a story about a young woman aiming to make her mark in the Navy, but those ambitions are shattered when she’s kic...moreMolly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue is a story about a young woman aiming to make her mark in the Navy, but those ambitions are shattered when she’s kicked out of the Naval Academy for something she didn’t do. Set in a future when space travel is the norm, trade between alien races is thriving, and a long-drawn out war between humanity’s sworn enemy, the Drenards, is well established, our heroine is thrown into a family mystery that will put her life on the line – several times. We soon find out that not every corner of the star-charts is safe when Molly, along with her boyfriend Cole Mendonco, begin a journey across the galaxy to recover her father’s space ship – the Parsona.
Along the way, Molly picks up a few strays that help to fill out her thin crew, and we encounter new races with starling perspectives than our own. The mystery of her father’s disappearance deepens as does the danger when she realizes she may be on the wrong side of the Navy’s arsenal. At each step she takes towards recovering the only thing left to her from her parents, she encounters betrayal and corruption, slowly stripping away her trust and naivety. She tackles each challenge with perseverance, compassion and her wits.
The first in a three part series, Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue is a fun, quick read. Filled with lots of action, and a little bit of romance, a young adult reader transitioning to more adult material will find a lot to like, and maybe love, about this book. Molly Fyde’s character feels real and immediate. Her dilemma is touching, and I found myself rooting for her the entire time as she struggles with what is the right thing to do.
With that said, there were a few times during the book where I had to turn up the suspension of disbelief by a factor or two. Our two main protagonists are in their late teens, and some of their antics would have swamped someone with far more training and experience behind them. There were also a few times in the book where the point of view was switched in a seemingly indiscriminate manner that had me re-reading a couple of passages.
Regardless of the few faults, I completely enjoyed this book and would recommended it to anyone who likes their science fiction packed with action and a bit of mystery.(less)
If you ever want to feel irrelevant, read Free Will by Sam Harris.
Divided into eight short sections, including his conclusions, Mr. Harris explores th...moreIf you ever want to feel irrelevant, read Free Will by Sam Harris.
Divided into eight short sections, including his conclusions, Mr. Harris explores the nature of free will and why it is wrong. Mr. Harris postulates that, indeed, free will is an illusion. That “I”, the conscious-I that we all think controls our bodies and decisions, has just as much input in what I will write in this review as, say, “you”, the conscious part of you.
Did that make sense?
I am not a philosopher. And I can’t claim to know anything about neuroscience. Nor can I say with infinite clarity why I decide to do one thing and not another. But I like to think I’m in control. And despite what Mr. Harris may prove, I am.
Here’s my reasoning. Call it the layman-atheist’s principles, if you will (well, you can’t, remember you have no free will – you simply will or won’t).
- If my next decision to type a bullet point arises from my murky subconscious electrical synapses built and governed by my hereditary genes and past experiences, then regardless of whether the conscious-I thinks I made that decision or not, I have.
- If no outside force (that includes a god) is physically forcing me to type this next bullet point, then I take complete responsibility for making that decision – even if the conscious me did not make it.
- Whether my actions are a product of a combination of my genes, past experiences that may or may not include some sort of abuse, my current blood sugar levels, or the random pressure of a growing tumor in my brain OR my consciousness (who I think is writing this), the moral responsibility of said actions should be assigned to the body/brain/soul combo regardless of how those actions arose.
Though I admire all of Mr. Harris’ work, I do have to say I was disappointed in this essay. Why? Because in my heart (dare I say it?) and soul, I disagree with his final conclusion, but when I read it aloud, it sounds so right:
"The illusion of free will is itself an illusion."
Argh! Okay, I’m done. I have a headache.
Recommended? I will allow you to make that decision.(less)