I enjoyed this book. It had just a touch of "mysticism", but nothing too over-the-top. I liked that the book gave some insight into what was going on...moreI enjoyed this book. It had just a touch of "mysticism", but nothing too over-the-top. I liked that the book gave some insight into what was going on in the Roman world during the time of Christ.(less)
I came home from my last trip to the library with an armful of books based on Bible stories. I guess because it was close to Easter. This one was okay...moreI came home from my last trip to the library with an armful of books based on Bible stories. I guess because it was close to Easter. This one was okay. I read the first book in the trilogy but I missed the second one. I don't think it mattered though; they're all about different women in the Old Testament. I didn't relate to Lilah very well and the ending left me outraged. I don't remember the lesser-known Old Testament stories very well, but did that really happen? I'm going to have to look it up. Anyway, the writing was a little weak. I wound up poring over the title page and publishing info to see if it had been translated from a different language.(less)
The Princes of Ireland follows the story of several Irish families, from the year 430 to 1538. Their stories are set against the larger backdrop of im...moreThe Princes of Ireland follows the story of several Irish families, from the year 430 to 1538. Their stories are set against the larger backdrop of important battles and events in the history of Ireland.
This really felt like three novels in one. The transitions between generations were very abrupt. I liked the first story, but the other two were just okay. They could have been part of a book entitled, A History of the English in Dublin. It was interesting to see what Kings Henry II and Henry VIII got up to in Ireland, but I really wanted to know what was going on in Ireland itself.
The female characters were terrible. They were almost all willful to the point of stupidity, impetuous, blind to anything they didn't want to see, and driven by some insane need for revenge.
One other thing that bothers me in all books that skip around in time: if the author isn't going to give me some sort of obvious clue like, "Forty years later, Henry VIII did this...", I really wish that he or she would put dates at the beginning and end of the chapters. I find myself flipping back and forth a lot, because after 60 pages, I've forgotten what year I was in last.
This was good enough, I just expected something different. If you want to know a little about Ireland as it changed from a druidic religion to Catholicism, and a lot about the way the English influenced events in Dublin, go ahead and read this. Just don't expect a lot of independent Irish history. (less)
This is the story of Mary Magdalene's entire life, from childhood to her death. I enjoyed seeing this controversial historical figure in her own eleme...moreThis is the story of Mary Magdalene's entire life, from childhood to her death. I enjoyed seeing this controversial historical figure in her own element, with no one sitting in judgment of who she was and her relationship to Jesus. The woman who emerged from these pages was initially very troubled. She was doing her best, but she was literally plagued by demons. She met Jesus when she had given up all hope. He gave her her life back, but her old life didn't want her back. Her family was ashamed of her, partially because of the time she had spent alone with unrelated men, and partly because she believed Jesus's message. With nowhere else to go, she became one of his first followers and traveled and worked miracles in His name.
My problem was that it was too long. Had it been about half this size, it would have been perfect. I started to feel like this whole group was wandering up and down Israel without any real idea what they were doing. There are only so many pages of that I can read.
I haven't read very many historical fiction books set around Jesus and his apostles, so I liked seeing all of them as "real" people, in language I could understand. I had a much better idea of their individual personalities after finishing this. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no Biblical scholar, but I feel that the author stayed true to the sense we get of them in Scripture.
I also liked seeing what everyday life was like in those times. I especially liked reading about women's lives.
Since I mentioned the relationship with Jesus, I'll say that I thought it was pretty delicately handled. I am pretty open-minded, but it all felt plausible to me.
I did find out the problem with sort of getting to see Jesus in a new light: the crucifixion is all new too. My reading pace practically stopped when I knew I was getting close. It wasn't as graphic as I was afraid it would be, but it still hurt to read it.
Those with more patience for aimless wandering may enjoy this more than I did. I do recommend it as a book that lets you see some central figures of Christianity in more of an everyday light.(less)
There are roughly 30 years of Jesus's life that are unaccounted for. Oh, there's the one story about him teaching in the temple when he was 12, but ot...moreThere are roughly 30 years of Jesus's life that are unaccounted for. Oh, there's the one story about him teaching in the temple when he was 12, but other than that, he was born and then he started his ministry around the age of 30. Christopher Moore has fun imagining what exactly Jesus--or Joshua, as Moore chooses to use the Hebrew name--might have gotten up to in the in-between years.
I know what I'm thinking but I'm having trouble finding the right words. I think if you're going to be offended by this book, the title will turn you off right away. And that's obviously okay. But there might be a few people out there like me, who are thinking, "I'm pretty open-minded. I think I can handle it. But I do have lines that I don't want to have crossed, and Moore could cross them easily." I was okay with what he wrote here. Joshua is still absolutely the Son of God, without sin, sent to save mankind from our sins. That is never questioned. If it had been, I would have had to put the book down. But he does have fun, love, and learn from people from many countries and religions. That's the best I can do as far as the is-it-offensive-to-Christians thing.
On to the good parts!
I loved Biff! I wanted to reach into the pages and smack him upside the head a few times, but usually when that happened another character stepped in and smacked him for me. He was a horny, cheerful smartass who could teach dogs a thing or two about loyalty. He spends his entire life following Joshua around and trying to make sure that he stays out of trouble. He can always get Joshua laughing when he falls into a funk. I was laughing right along with them. Oh! And he taught me a new word: doofuscosity. I've already used it on my husband.
The angel Raziel was fun too. He's the one making Biff write his gospel as they sit in a modern-day hotel room, and his TV addiction is hilarious! He doesn't understand that soap operas aren't real, so he cries and gets upset when bad things happen to the characters. My favorite part is when he becomes a wrestling fan and starts talking smack. Then there was a whole passage of Biff asking questions like, "How many peeps in a posse, how much booty before baby got back, do you have to be all that to get all up in that, and do I need to be dope and phat to be da bomb or can I just be 'stupid'?"
Biff and Joshua spend a lot of their time on a quest, and their adventures were full of laughs. Well, Joshua is busy learning, but Biff gets up to all kinds of misadventures.
It was kind of fun to play "spot the scripture." I'm a Christian, but no one would ever accuse me of being a Biblical scholar. I probably missed some things, but it was fun to see where Joshua gets the ideas for things he later puts in parables and sermons.
I had a good time reading this, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually liked it. If you're curious, I would conditionally recommend it. But you read that part already.(less)
The story of Christ's birth told in the meter of The Night Before Christmas. The illustrations were done by the author's nine-year-old granddaughter,...moreThe story of Christ's birth told in the meter of The Night Before Christmas. The illustrations were done by the author's nine-year-old granddaughter, and they're very good. A nice little addition to Christmas traditions.(less)