‘Mistystar’s Omen’ provides a great insight into the life of RiverClan and all the difficulties it faced after the draught that happened in The Fourth‘Mistystar’s Omen’ provides a great insight into the life of RiverClan and all the difficulties it faced after the draught that happened in The Fourth Apprentice. Mistystar had always been an appealing character to read about and she presents an interesting perspective since her old age gives her experience to guide the Clan, but also doubts about her abilities as a leader. Moreover, her relationship with her son Reedwhisker plays an important role in the book, and we learn the fate of her other kits.
What I did not like was the main conflict of the story: Mistystar discovering Mothwing’s lack of faith in StarClan. (view spoiler)[In the first chapters of the book, Mistystar keeps thinking how good it is to have Mothwing as her medicine cat and a friend, how capable and competent Mothwing is and how she wouldn't have coped without her. But after finding out that Mothwing doesn't believe in StarClan, Mistystar spends a chapter being confused and not knowing what to do… and then all but calls Mothwing a traitor and says she lied to the whole Clan and endangered it. It is as if Mothwing didn't spend seasons caring for the Clan, treating wounded and sick and saving lives. When Mothwing points out that Willowshine can talk with the ancestors and receive their signs, Mistystar goes as far as doubting Willowshine’s loyalty, saying that she is too attached to her mentor. Therefore Mistystar forbidding Mothwing to treat Reedwhisker’s wounds came out not as her thinking of the good of the Clan above her own son, but as Mistystar risking her son's life out of her own sheer stubbornness.
And how is it all resolved? Both Stonefur and Mudfur talked to Mistystar, sending her an omen confirming that she should trust in Mothwing. Yes, you’ve read that right: it took StarClan itself saying that it was okay not to believe in StarClan. (hide spoiler)] It’s a right thing, of course, but I always though Mistystar strong and wise enough to make the right decision herself. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
+ 2 stars for Margot Verger. A strong, tough as nails bodybuilder/powerlifter woman who basically handles all Mason’s business and has her own opinion+ 2 stars for Margot Verger. A strong, tough as nails bodybuilder/powerlifter woman who basically handles all Mason’s business and has her own opinion about everything that goes on in the house? Hell yes! Margot is awesome, plain and simple. What I love about her is that she isn’t just defined as ‘Mason’s lesbian sister’, but a confident and outstanding character on her own.
+ 1 star for Barney Matthews, an orderly who managed to see almost all of Vermeer. I loved greatly his friendship with Margot and the way they were on equal footing.
+ 1 star for Clarice Starling. She was pushed into the background there, but Clarice is still an admiring character. However, I admit I didn’t enjoy her as much as in The Silence of the Lambs. Seven years that passed since the last books really changed her. In a way, she matured, but she also became more bitter and cynical, disappointed in life, her career and herself. At the same time, she still possesses all the qualities that made me love her in the first place: she is a warrior who fights to make the world a better place and save those in need.
+ 1 star for Ardelia Mapp, because she is the heart of Starling’s house and the most loyal friend.
+ 0.5 stars because Thomas Harris' writing is very atmospheric and vivid.
- 1 star for Hannibal Lecter. I can see why this character appeals to people, but my relationship with him had always been a mix of fear and odd respect. So focusing the book almost entirely on Hannibal didn’t work for me. This man seriously creeps me out! What is especially scary is that while in ‘Silence of the Lambs’ Hannibal was a villain, but dangerously sane, here I see him slowly slipping into madness. (view spoiler)[He is not just interested in Clarice – he is obsessed with her and his idea of ‘freeing the spot for Mischa’. The fact that he stole the drugs and came for her father’s bones before life threw them both together proves that he was preparing to kidnap Clarice – and where is the guarantee he doesn’t slit her throat the moment he thinks it’s time for Mischa to come back? (hide spoiler)]
- 1 star because there was no clear, well-defined plot. A lot of things happen, but they seem to have very little connection and no real purpose. In ‘Silence of the Lambs’, the main goal was to catch the murderer and save the girl before it’s too late, and the ticking clock gave the story a sense of excitement and urgency, a sense of dread and worry. In ‘Hannibal’, the main goal is… I can’t even pin what it is. Mason Verger’s hunt for vengeance? Clarice Starling’s trials?
- 1 star for the ending, because it’s really sad. (view spoiler)[Clarice spends almost all time drugged or under hypnosis, and in the result becomes less than she were. In the end, my reaction was pretty much like Paul Krendler’s: ‘Who are you? You look like Starling, but you’re not her.’ How am I supposed to believe that Clarice would talk down her father when she always knew he was a man of duty? Or that she would condemn a person to torture and death, she who devoted her life to saving those imprisoned to be killed, starting with Hannah and ending with Hannibal himself? Sorry, but that isn’t Clarice I know and love. (hide spoiler)]
Nicholas Flamel, Josh and Sophie are on the run in London, desperately searching for a way to return to San-Francisco while looking for a mentor to teNicholas Flamel, Josh and Sophie are on the run in London, desperately searching for a way to return to San-Francisco while looking for a mentor to teach the twins Water Magic. Sounds familiar? In many aspects, ‘The Sorceress’ is very similar to The Magician. Meaning, it’s just as good.
As always, new characters are added to the story, both friends and enemies. Some of them, like Billy the Kid, were the ones I heard of for the first time, so this series never fail to extend my mental horizons. Almost all of the characters in the story really grew up on me – like Palamedes, the Saracen Knight, who is on the side of good, but despite that he is no friend to Nicholas Flamel and he misses no chance to criticize him and call him out on all the mistakes Flamels ever did, intentionally or unintentionally. William Shakespeare was an unexpected, but remarkable character who had gone through a lot in his life and had to rethink and reconsider what he believed in. Sometimes the immortal or very old characters in books came out as too static – unlike this case, in which Shakespeare actually changed over the centuries he lived through. Gilgamesh, in his turn, presents a very interesting view on the immortality, since he considers it a curse, not blessing. (view spoiler)[He is the oldest human on the Earth, and having lived the millenniums of knowledge and memories, he cannot quite get hold on all of it and know past from present. (hide spoiler)]
However, not only new threads are explored in the book, but the old ones are also expanding. We learn more of the history and origins of Clarent and Excalibur, hear how Josh and Sophie fit into the prophecy and what Nicholas Flamel was hiding from them, see what happened to a certain character left behind in Paris and come face to face with the Badb and the Macha which were mentioned in the first book.
Truly, my only complaint is that the ending quarter of the story wasn’t as exciting as the rest of the book, but overall… The Necromancer, I’m ready!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I admit reading this book was sad, since it’s the last book of my favourite series. And it being the last book, I wanted to enjoy it thoroughly. The aI admit reading this book was sad, since it’s the last book of my favourite series. And it being the last book, I wanted to enjoy it thoroughly. The answer to whether I did or not is both yes and no. ‘The Rogue Crew’ wasn’t as awesome as a final book should be – but I still enjoyed it greatly.
‘The Rogue Crew’ is a pretty dark book that can be compared with Rakkety Tam in that aspect. Razzid Wearat is a ruthless villain who slays his way to Mossflower, and the heroes pay him in the same coin, taking no prisoners and giving no mercy. But except for his cruelty, Razzid Wearat wasn’t an engaging villain. In fact, he reminds me strongly of slightly more intelligent and much more sadistic Gulo. The titular Rogue Crew, in their turn, are more of battle-hungry fighters than honor-bound warriors, and about 3/4 of the book is spent on the heroes getting to Redwall Abbey, with the final battle being too short and forgettable.
However, this being the last book, I preferred concentrating on the good stuff. The idea behind Greenshroud, Razzid Wearat’s ship, is surely one of the best things about the book. A ship with wheels and two giant crossbows that can sail sea and land and is basically a giant battering ram on her own! Sometimes I wish Braggio Ironhook, the one who designed her, was the main villain instead of Razzid. While I don’t actually like Razzid, I loved the little subplot involving Razzid sending one of his crew to die and the following rebellion plotted by Shekra, Jiboree and Mowlag. That actually made Razzid look more like a hardened villain to be reckoned with instead of an average corsair that he was, showed that there is more to Shekra than just a phony seer and developed the characters of Jiboree and Mowlag.
Speaking of the book’s characters, I can say that while they weren’t as strong as in The Sable Quean, the previous book, there is still a solid cast. I enjoyed reading about older characters more than the younger protagonists: Captain Rake Nightfur and his Long Patrol hares, Sergeant Miggory and Lieutenant Scutram and the rest, and Jum Gurdy, an awesome old otter and Uggo’s adopted uncle in a way. Wiltud’s clan was a great addition to the world – I love Pinny and Posy, even if she isn’t a Wiltud, and while Uggo and Drogbuk aren’t among my favourites, I definitely appreciate them.
Swiffo was the one who completely stole my heart. He was born into the Rogue Crew, but he is different from them in so many ways, choosing to be a scout for peaceful Fortunate Freepaws, carry no arms and bring no violence, what makes him a black sheep to his warlike tribe. And yet despite their differences his father and brother love him so much, care about him and welcome him with open arms once they are reunited. Moreover, peaceful Swiffo may be, but that doesn’t mean he is weak or cowardly – when the time is right and his friends need help, Swiffo fight just as well as any of his tribe – just without their ferocity. ...more
When I started reading ‘Return to Honor’ I expected it to improve my opinion on Vlora, and it certainly helped me to understand Vlora better and feelWhen I started reading ‘Return to Honor’ I expected it to improve my opinion on Vlora, and it certainly helped me to understand Vlora better and feel her pain at the mistake she made. I think what shocked me the most was that almost every single soldier in the army turned on Vlora after learning about her cheating on Taniel. As Vlora herself said, Taniel’s family and closest friends had a right for it, but the fact she had not a single friend left hurt me deeply.
Vlora’s relationship with Olem also interested me, especially since we didn’t have an in-depth look at it in The Crimson Campaign. While this story doesn’t exactly explore it, we still can see what had brought these two together. The simple fact that Olem appears in it makes it even better. I’ve got to say that Olem is among my top favourites in ‘The Powder Mage’ series, and he is totally awesome. In every single scene. What else can I say? I would totally marry Olem if I could, even if he smokes like a steam engine.
Beside the main plot I enjoyed a lot of subtle references to both Promise of Blood and ‘The Crimson Campaign’: the reappearance of Colonel Verundish and her ‘special assignment’, and the number of seventy-five thousand krana....more
There are only two faults I can see in this comic. Firstly, the pacing is rushed. I can’t exactly put my finger on it; a lot of events happen in the sThere are only two faults I can see in this comic. Firstly, the pacing is rushed. I can’t exactly put my finger on it; a lot of events happen in the span of the book, so it’s natural that the things are going fast. Still, I can’t help having a feeling as if the heroes were practically running all throughout the story. Secondly, the artist doesn’t have a hand for dwarves, orcs or trolls – though this artist draws amazing humans, elves and dragons. These dragons are simply breathtaking!
The plot is interesting and engaging, as well as the characters. To be fair, both the plot and the characters are typical for the genre, but that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable for me. The plot starts as the hunt for a magic object, but quickly goes in an unexpected direction. The characters are somewhat cliché, but honestly speaking it never bothered me; they are very likable, and that’s enough. Kalec amazes me with his loyalty to his friends and allies, Anveena is sweet with her naivety and wide-eyed idealism, and Tyrygosa… she has the sass, and she is the one who knows how to use the advantages of being a shape-shifting dragon – like shifting into a dragon during the fight and burning all your enemies to the crisp. ...more
Usually, a Clan cat’s path in life is easy: first a kit, then a ‘paw, then a warrior. But Crookedstar’s path in life isn’t as clear, for his life is mUsually, a Clan cat’s path in life is easy: first a kit, then a ‘paw, then a warrior. But Crookedstar’s path in life isn’t as clear, for his life is marred by two difficulties he has to overcome. Firstly, there is his injury – he broke his jaw as a kit, adding a new challenge to his life. As a result, Crookedstar had to work twice as hard even on simple tasks as hunting or even eating. His path to apprenticeship was unusual and long, and it took him even longer to become a warrior.
Secondly, there is Mapleshade, a mysterious ghost cat mentoring him. I admit I’m a bit on the fence about her involvement in the plot. (view spoiler)[On the one hand, she and the promise she made Crookedstar give to her adds to the story a lot. In a way, Mapleshade shaped Crookedstar’s whole life, manipulating him and hanging like a shadow over him even after he had turned his back on her. But I wouldn’t have minded to leave all the Dark Forest stuff for the third and the forth arcs and just concentrate on Crookedstar’s life, because there is enough to make an amazing story as it is. Besides, it would’ve been good to take some focus off Crookedstar’s predestined greatness. Seriously, it really annoys me how often Crookedstar's destiny is referred to, not only by Mapleshade but by Brambleberry as well. They keep saying how Crookedjaw is going to become a great leader, and it gives me impression that he becomes the leader not because he was worthy, but just because it was decided so by StarClan long before his birth. (hide spoiler)]
Crookedstar’s life story is an engaging one, but he turned out to be quite a difficult character to love. I don't like over-ambitious characters, and the majority of time all Crookedjaw thinks about is what a great leader he’s going to be. I swear that at least once a chapter Crookedjaw repeats how special and great he is! The tutelage of Mapleshade does him no good, too: he is very arrogant and stuck up with his denmates and even older warriors and he definitely thinks himself the best.
I did love Crookedstar, though. He really matured with time and dropped his 'I'm going be a leader' attitude after becoming a deputy and therefore became more pleasing to read about. What I loved about Crookedstar is how good he was with kits, whether it was Willowkit and Greykit, his kithood friends, or the later generation of Sunkit, Frogkit, Blackkit, Skykit and others that he mentored and trained. The bond between Crookedstar and Willowbreeze is outstanding. They both know what it means to be an outsider and they both left a little bit of their hearts away from their Clan. Crookedstar and Willowbreeze are so sweet together! Willowbreeze was the love of his life, the one who made him whole and happy… (view spoiler)[and in the end, I actually shed a few tears when I read about her fate. (hide spoiler)]
The minor characters weren’t as developed as I would’ve liked, but there were some interesting cats around. Mudfur, for example, has one of the most amazing character developments. Not only he is a warrior who becomes a medicine cat, but he also became one in quite an old age, and he has a story to explain his change of heart. Oakheart is another fabulous cat – loyal, truthful and supportive, the best brother, mate and father one can wish for. I loved him to bits in Bluestar's Prophecy, and I love him even more now. A lot of other minor characters had a lot of potential, but their stories weren’t in the focus – like an unlikely couple of Piketooth and Shimmerpelt, elders Tanglewhisker and Birdsong, dutiful Shellheart and others.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I'm a great lover of Agatha Christie, and I can admit that this isn't her best book: the writing was somewhat draggy, and our narrator Hastings is quiI'm a great lover of Agatha Christie, and I can admit that this isn't her best book: the writing was somewhat draggy, and our narrator Hastings is quite dense. However the final twist and the reveal of the murderer were amazing, it really does all detective novels honor. Agatha Christie has that style - her plotlines are intricate and tangled, but she keeps the things simple in their essence, and once the murderer is unmasked you wonder why you hadn't seen it coming yourself because it's such a logical turn of events. ...more
‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ is such a classic of detective genre that I knew the murderer’s identity even before I started it, despite neither readi‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ is such a classic of detective genre that I knew the murderer’s identity even before I started it, despite neither reading it previously nor seeing any adaptations. Did it make me enjoy the book any less? No, it didn’t. Usually I spend my time trying to figure out the murderer; there I spent my time spotting all the little details pointing at the culprit that I would've missed otherwise. Very often I would even think that due to the way the things were turning out, the murderer would’ve been number one suspect if because of the certain circumstances they weren’t crossed out from the list by everyone including the reader - but not Hercule Poirot. Besides, a lot of things happen aside from the search for the murderer. Almost all of the people living in the great manor of Roger Ackroyd have something to hide – and their personal stories provide a lot of excitement and satisfaction for a detective lover willing to deduce a thing or two....more