It's a science fiction classic. It won the 1961 Nebula Award. It has received rave reviews on Goodreads. I made it to page 178 (...moreRating: Did Not Finish
It's a science fiction classic. It won the 1961 Nebula Award. It has received rave reviews on Goodreads. I made it to page 178 (of 368 pages) and I cannot bring myself to read anymore. Perhaps I will come back to it some day. But, for now, I surrender.
My thoughts It's Sometime In The Future, and the world has been thrust back into the Dark Ages after the Flame Deluge (which I guess was a nuclear holocaust).
The first 30 pages: Francis, a priest in training, is enduring some kind of Priest Torture by hanging out in the desert for weeks with no food or water. He finds some documents in what is apparently a bomb shelter. These documents (which include Major Enlightening Things, like a shopping list) apparently were written by I.E. Leibowitz for whom the abbey that Francis belongs to is named. Leibowitz is only a Beatus (whatever that is) but these documents, if proven authentic, will allow the Church to name Leibowitz a saint (which is important for some reason).
The next 150 pages: A lot of Church politics and political maneuverings and discussions about Church politics and plots for political maneuverings.
Problem #1 I loathed Francis. Completely utterly totally despised. There is just something about the way he is described and the way that he acts that made me picture a weasel. He's weak and indecisive and whiny. And he faints. He faints all the freakin' time. On page 118 *spoiler alert* he finally dies. I have never been so grateful for the demise of a literary character *end spoiler*.
Problem #2 I really don't care about politics (literary or otherwise) and I know squat diddly about the Catholic Church. Appreciation of the former and understanding of the latter is, I believe, essential for appreciating this book. Epic fail for me.
In summary, it just was not what I was expecting. At all. (less)
I've often heard good things about Card's writing style, so I decided to check out this book. But then I read through some reviews that have been post...moreI've often heard good things about Card's writing style, so I decided to check out this book. But then I read through some reviews that have been posted about it. This is supposedly targeted at a young adult audience, but reviewers comment that there are issues with language and sexuality, including a scene where the protagonist is molested. No thanks. I'm taking it back to the library, unread. (less)
"The Promise of Zandra," the first book in the So Many Secrets series, tells the story of Piper and Nina, two young girls from New Jersey who travel t...more"The Promise of Zandra," the first book in the So Many Secrets series, tells the story of Piper and Nina, two young girls from New Jersey who travel to the mystical underground Kingdom of Galacia. The goblins and trolls are at war in Galacia and a princess has been abducted, and Piper and Nina have been recruited to rescue her.
Koehler's world building skill and technique is reminiscent of Tolkien. The Kingdom of Galacia is well-thought out and complex, with its own political system and language. For me, this made the book especially captivating, as I felt I was fully immersed in this magical world.
The writing style is very strong with well-constructed sentences and rich vocabulary. The plot of the book will certainly appeal to the age of the target audience (fifth to eighth graders) while the writing style will challenge them to read something a bit more complex than what is usually expected of them. The writing style also gives the book appeal for an adult audience as well.
Piper and Nina are well-developed characters with strong personalities and understandable motivations. Piper is brave and curious while Nina is more cautious, and the two personalities create an intriguing contrast. Readers can relate to one or the other, while also identifying with the struggles and questions that are typical for a 12 year old.
The book starts out a bit slow. Piper has been to Galacia before "The Promise of Zandra" begins, which necessitates quite a bit of backstory. And there are few transitional passages at the beginning that are awkward. However, when Piper and Nina arrive in Galacia and begin their quest to rescue the princess, the clunkiness that is evident at first vanishes, and the author proceeds with strong self-assurance. At this point, the book becomes one of those that you don't want to put down.
"The Promise of Zandra" has echoes of Tolkien, as well as of Narnia, but is wholly its own unique thing. It is a compelling book that I enjoyed immensely, and I eagerly anticipate the release of the next book in the series.
It's difficult to put a rating on this book. Compared to the typical self-published first novel, "The Promise of Zandra" easily deserves 5 Stars. It is vastly better than what I have come to expect from these types of books. When compared to books by masters like Tolkien and Lewis, it only earns 2 Stars, but that's true for almost any fantasy book. Held up against other books in the same genre, though, "The Promise of Zandra" is worthy of 3 Stars, so this is the rating I will go with. It's a strong, solid book that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend. And I suspect that as the series progresses, the future books could merit 4 Stars.(less)
WHY I READ THIS BOOK When I first heard about this book, which was just published last month, I got a bad case of "I want." The author's "The Lost Gard...moreWHY I READ THIS BOOK When I first heard about this book, which was just published last month, I got a bad case of "I want." The author's "The Lost Garden" is one of my favorite books, and "The Reinvention of Love" is about Victor Hugo, the author of another favorite book, "Les Misérables."
ABOUT THE BOOK "The Reinvention of Love" is set in France in the 1800s, and is based on real people and historical facts. Charles Sainte-Beuve is a book critic, and after reviewing the work of Victor Hugo, he is invited to the author's home. Charles and Victor become friends...and Charles begins an affair with Victor's wife, Adèle. The book explores the lives and complicated relationships of these three characters.
MY THOUGHTS "The Reinvention of Love" is much more a character study than a plot-driven novel.
It is told almost exclusively from the viewpoint of Charles, who is not a very likable character. He's arrogant, pompous, selfish, vain, and critical. He's also irrationally jealous of Victor, who has all that Charles wants - a successful writing career and a beautiful wife.
A few chapters are told in Adèle's voice. She seems like such a lonely sad woman who is a victim of the time period, when women could do little more than live in the shadow of a man. Victor is a background character, and is portrayed as having many of the same character defects as Charles - arrogant and selfish. Is this accurate, or is Charles projecting his own faults?
Jealously, identity, and sexuality are all themes in "The Reinvention of Love" and the author explores each of these in intriguing and thought-provoking ways. Motives and actions are not explained but are left open for interpretation.
The book is well-crafted, and the author employs various writing styles as fits the situation. Sometimes it is beautiful and philosophical; at others times, it is terse and spare.
"The Reinvention of Love" is a unique book that was a complete enjoyment to read. It is a book I would like to re-read to more fully explore the character development and the technique used by the author to present the story.