Prince Caspian is a part of the series of Narnia, a magical land visited only by a special few. While it isn't necessary to read any of the other bookPrince Caspian is a part of the series of Narnia, a magical land visited only by a special few. While it isn't necessary to read any of the other books before this one, I highly recommend reading at least The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. For those not familiar with the story, Narnia is a world that the Pevensie children have stumbled into, and with the help of Aslan (a mighty lion), became Kings and Queens of the land before eventually returning to their own home and time.
In this book, the children have returned after Prince Caspian has blown Susan's enchanted horn. Their return is just in time; Caspian's uncle, who has taken over the throne, is aiming to kill Caspian and so destroy the last true heir of Narnia. Under his Uncle's rule, the original beings of Narnia (talking animals, mythical creatures, etc.) have been outcast and live in fear. Caspian and the Pevensie's will need to do all that they can to restore everything to its rightful balance, and take his Uncle off of the throne.
The characters are not nearly as well developed in this book. We seem some spark of the former characters of the children, but they are really an aside to this story as compared to Caspian. But even Caspian is only half developed and for being a main character, I couldn't really connect with him. There are several minor characters that I did like. These being the badger, some of the dwarves and of course Aslan.
The writing is aimed towards children and as such an adult might find it rushed and desire more detail. There isn't really anything offensive in it (aside from one minor curse word) and it is highly appropriate for anyone to read. It has a special narrator, who talks to the reader, and this makes the reading more personal, which is nice.
I do like the series and while this isn't the best of them, it is still important to read it as it continues the story of Narnia and sets up some history for the next few books.
This is probably one of the most popular fantasy books out there, especially for the younger set. When the movie came out (which I also loved) it justThis is probably one of the most popular fantasy books out there, especially for the younger set. When the movie came out (which I also loved) it just furthered the popularity of this series. While it can be read as a stand alone, I recommend reading the complete series for the full richness and history that is contained for the world of Narnia.
When Lucky, Edmund, Peter, and Susan have to go to the countryside to escape the air raids and war, they stay with a kindly professor at his rather large house. There is plenty to explore, and it is on a rainy day that Lucy finds a magical doorway to another world, inside the wardrobe in a spare room. She quickly makes a friend in a faun and learns of the evil White Witch who fancies herself Queen of Narnia. The other children don't believe her about her adventures though, and this is even worse for her when Edmund comes through too but lies about it to the other children. Finally and quite by accident they all make it to Narnia and learn that they have been expected. Aslan, the great lion, wants to see them and they set out to meet him and help him with his fight against the White Witch. However, they experience a setback when Edmund defects to the witch's side and they feel sure that he is lost to them.
The characters, despite this being a short book, are very well done. I love Lucy and think she is charming and sweet. Peter is rather noble and distant, and Edmund of course is a complete brat in the beginning of the book without hardly any redeeming qualities. The other characters are quite nice as well and it is easy to see that Aslan has a regal bearing.
The writing is great and definitely the most appropriate for kids (adults might find the story a little rushed) and while there are battles there is not extreme violence in this book. In fact, the only thing I found offensive was Father Christmas saying women shouldn't fight in wars, but that could just be the small bit of feminist in me. There are Christian tones, but they aren't strong in voice and are rather just a background to the story itself. It is read more as a fantasy novel, and highly appropriate that way.
I love the series and especially this book and read it over and over. I don't think I could ever tire of it. With all the fantasy novels out there, this is definitely one that should be read.
The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe Copyright 1950 206 pages (and my edition had black and white pictures as well)
The Magician's Nephew is the first book in the chronicles of Narnia. While it is not as well known as the others, it is the beginning, and so, a veryThe Magician's Nephew is the first book in the chronicles of Narnia. While it is not as well known as the others, it is the beginning, and so, a very important book for the series.
Diggory and his new friend Polly have been tricked into going to a different world by his somewhat mad, magician uncle. With some magical rings they are transported to a calm forest filled with pools that lead to different worlds. It is in one of these worlds, Charn, that Diggory does something terrible and awakens a beautiful but treacherous Queen who demands to go back to their world with them as hers is dying. She does manage to tag along despite their best efforts and is soon wreaking havoc on London. As the children try to get her back, they inadvertently transport themselves, Diggory's Uncle, the Queen, and a bystanding cabby and his horse along with them. From there they go to an empty world. But to their wonder this world does not remain empty for long, because a certain lion has just started singing.
The characters are very undescribed in this book. I would have loved some back history on the evil Queen and why she was the way she was. Even Diggory's Uncle didn't have a good basis described for being the way he was. Poor Polly was more of a sidekick character and the only one who really had any real emotion was Diggory himself.
The writing was decent and appropriate for children although they may not understand everything that goes on. The story is rushed though and for it to be the beginning of a magical world, I expected a lot more to the story. The novel does have Christian tones but they are not very preachy and instead it reads as a regular fantasy novel for the most part. Especially since it includes the use of magic.
I do love the Narnia tales. While this is not the best of them, it is still very important to read as it marks the start and does explain some history of the series. It should definitely be included in the reading list of all that is Narnia.
The Magician's Nephew Copyright 1955 202 pages (The Edition I had had several wonderful color pictures as well)
I'd like to think I'm eco-minded, but the reality is I fall very very short in my earth friendly habits. But still, one eco-habit is better than none.I'd like to think I'm eco-minded, but the reality is I fall very very short in my earth friendly habits. But still, one eco-habit is better than none. And for Vanessa, she decides to do 365 new eco-friendly habits, one a day for a year.
Vanessa is a pretty normal twenty-seven year old. She likes fashion, pop fiction, food, wine, and dreams of having a boyfriend. But then she decides to green up her life and go ahead and make a new change every day in her life. These things run the gamut from turning off the fridge completely to writing haiku instead of regular poetry. Granted some of these things seem kind of superficial, but I think doing so many allows for a few of those. She also takes a few trips and meets other green bloggers; interviews celebrities, and also learns a little bit about composting, toilets, and other green initiatives.
The writing is done in short bursts. She outlines what she plans to do that month, and then tells snippets of some of the days. Some of the snippets are several paragraphs long, and others are only a few sentences. They are often humourous, telling of some of her exploits and failures of some of her Green acts. Others are more serious and detail how the change impacts her life in either a negative or positive way. She also maintained a blog for this endeavor, so everything is more than likely written in greater detail there as well. I do have to say that I would have preferred if some of the entries were longer. I would just get into a topic and it would end and go into a different day. It just felt very rushed.
She meets several unique people in her green journey. From Jamie Oliver to No Impact Man, she really expresses how nice the people are. It's a great way of writing about them. And even though there's not a lot of time devoted to any of them, I think she does a good job of expressing their character in the small bit she has for them. I also like that there was a lot of varied people. From her friends, to some of the other people she meets in Oregon on her bike tour, she never lacks for someone interesting to talk to.
I enjoyed reading this book for the most part. There are a lot of different things I'm eager to try myself, and Vanessa leads a pretty interesting life. Not a bad read and I may have to check out the blog as well.
**Please note, this book was obtained as a free Advanced Reader's Copy. Obtained through the Goodreads First Reads program***
Words in the Dust was a v**Please note, this book was obtained as a free Advanced Reader's Copy. Obtained through the Goodreads First Reads program***
Words in the Dust was a very interesting story. It wasn't the easiest of reads, due to its subject matter, but there was a lot of detail put into this novel. Trent Reedy, the author, actually intended this book for children, but I think adults could take something from it as well.
Zulaikha is a young girl growing up after the end of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. She's not like other girls in her area however. Sure she wears the same clothes, eats the same food, and helps in her family's home like any other girl, but she is disfigured and this causes her great torment among the other kids and sometimes even her own family. Born with a cleft lip she has been raised mostly be her father's second wife after her mother was killed by the Taliban for having books. She has several brothers and one older sister who she adores. It is during this time that her sister is betrothed to marriage and everything starts happening quickly. Americans arrive in her town and they discover her and want to help her with surgery that will repair her lip. She also meets an old friend of her mother's who begins to teach her to read and write in secret and offers her a chance at school. Several set backs happen though and it seems as though Zulaikha will not find happiness easily nor have her lip fixed easily as well.
As the characters are somewhat based on real people (according to the author's notes) they don't actually have a lot of depth to them. We see them all through Zulaikha's eyes but still don't get an overall sense of them. This is especially noticeable when Malehkah, her father's second wife, completely changes personality at the end of the novel. One could argue that it was Zulaikha growing and seeing her different, but that is not easily readable from the book, especially since its geared towards children. Her father is an enigma and I wasn't sure what to think about him. Zulaikha herself we get to experience a whole range of emotions with but I never felt truly connected to her as a character.
The writing is well enough done. It is in the first person from Zulaikha's view so everything we experience is through her eyes and her thoughts. And she is very conflicting at times with what she feels towards certain people. I think the author did a good job of removing himself from being an American soldier to seeing the world through an Afghani girls eyes. The only flaw I would really find with the writing is that it seemed rushed. There were a lot of things that happened and to me, it didn't cohesively come together and made the story a bit choppy with the different things that were happening. I think that might be why I had such a hard time finding empathy with this book; all the right emotions were there, they just weren't expressed fully. Another note would be, that while this was geared for kids, there is some hard stuff for them in here including violence and just the culture itself might be hard for a child to understand. Please don't think I'm saying they shouldn't read the book, but rather that a parent should be there to answer any questions that may come up in the reading.
I did enjoy the book and think that its a well done piece of fiction. It seems mostly believable and gives reader's a different view of what has gone on in Afghanistan aside from all the horrible things shown about its people on the news.
Words in the Dust Copyright 2011 268 pages + glossary and pronunciation guide
I can honestly say that I did not enjoy this book whatsoever and was immensely relieved to have finished it. While it doesn't necessarily go hand in hI can honestly say that I did not enjoy this book whatsoever and was immensely relieved to have finished it. While it doesn't necessarily go hand in hand with the Lord of the Rings books (it can be a standalone) it was sitting on our shelf and I felt compelled to read it and finish the books we owned written by Tolkien.
The Silmarillion is a compilation of stories, history, lore and other things of the elves in the time before the Lord of the Rings series takes place. There are also stories about the dwarves and men of the world as well, but they are not focused on as heavily. Within these tales are little stories of some of the peoples, wars, and goings on in the world at that time, not to mention, a sneak peek at the early lives of Celeborn, Galadriel, and Elrond. Towards the end it also goes over how the rings were made and how they came into the hands of the different people who bore them. There is even a very brief mention of Frodo's part in the histories.
There are so many characters in this novel that none are really fleshed out and to be honest its hard to tell who's who in this book. Most of the people are similar in name and deed and this gets to be very confusing as the book moves along. Indeed, none of the characters stood out to me because of the way this book is put together. I would have liked to hear more on Elrond or Galadriel but instead we are introduced to so many characters in so short of time (and most without interesting stories) that it was like seeing a slide projection of someone's vacation photos; there might have been a few interesting things, but largely you are bored to tears and trying to be nice about the whole experience.
The writing is overly descriptive and does read like a history book. History is not my favorite subject and this made the read excruciating for me. As mentioned before there are so many people, places things that the book is largely unfollowable without a notebook to track what is going on. While there are some glimmers of a good story that caught my interest, they are so short and so few between that it wasn't enough to redeem this book in my eyes. While I recognize that it was probably a personal labor of love for Tolkien, it may not have been the best choice to release the book as is.
I like to read but in this novel I just could not keep up with who, what, where, when and why and it really took from my enjoyment. Die hard fans of Tolkien and history buffs may derive pleasure from reading this book, but I certainly did not.
The Silmarillion Copyright 1977 442 pages including appendix
Well, this book started off as a dud but then got quite better. I admit its not to my usual taste, but it has a certain charm. Although I will say thiWell, this book started off as a dud but then got quite better. I admit its not to my usual taste, but it has a certain charm. Although I will say this book is probably not for everyone, it nearly wasn't for me.
Juliet is a writer, most known for her work during World War II. By happenstance, she receives a letter from a man living in Guernsey, one of the islands that was occupied during the war. From this she learns of a book club society that secretly operated under the Occupation. She grows to love the different people of the society and aims to write a book about them. So she goes to stay for awhile on the island and meets them in person. She is especially taken with Elizabeth's daughter, who has been raised by the society after Elizabeth was taken away to a war camp and never heard from again. Juliet longs to stay in Guernsey, but just isn't sure where her life is leading her.
Juliet is a good character. She is real and expresses quite a bit of herself. She isn't afraid to admit when she is wrong and she takes delight in just about everything. She's the type of woman who I would hope to be compared with. I do like Dawsey as well, he is a solid guy, although quiet, and he remains a focus throughout the book, especially since he is the one to make first contact with Juliet. By comparison, her boyfriend was absolutely horrendous and controlling. I did not care for him at all. But really the standout character in this novel is Isola. She is so odd and delightful that you can't help but like her.
I do have to say that the way this book was written was not to my taste at all. It is a series of letters and telegrams from Juliet to other people, other people to Juliet, and other people to other people. I just don't like the letter style, I'd rather read regular writing if it can be called such a thing. I just feel that too much is missed when you're looking at what the characters are putting down in a letter and indeed, some of the letters appear to be missing and I found myself wondering what was in them. The letters at least get longer towards the end of the book and I do think that is why I liked the second half better than the first. You got to know the characters better in the second half as well. And the subject matter was interesting. Probably because it was based on a true place and people that could have existed.
I can't say I'd recommend this book to anyone. But if you think it sounds interesting then give it a go. It does have its moments.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Copyright 2008 278 pages
Ok, so I had heard bits about this book before actually reading it. That, combined with the title, made me have a fair guess as to what it was about.Ok, so I had heard bits about this book before actually reading it. That, combined with the title, made me have a fair guess as to what it was about. What I didn't expect though, was for it to be narrated through the child's eyes.
Jack knows about Room. His mother is there, they eat there, they sleep there and they do everything in Room. Sometimes a man brings them things, Jack is not to be around when this happens. And he knows that sometimes his mom goes away in her head and doesn't enjoy Room as much as he does. In fact, he is quite disturbed when she mentions leaving Room as there shouldn't be anything Outside that isn't already in Room or TV.
Obviously Jack is pretty oblivious to his surroundings and how limited they are. That's how his mom chose to raise him and keep him safe. So watching him discover the Outside is like seeing a child grow up from the beginning, only with more intelligence than an infant normally has. And it is disturbing. And his mother, well she's definitely a sympathetic character. In fact, I sympathized with her more than she probably even needed as I just wanted her to be able to take a break from her kid and his incessant questions. It's commendable that she stayed sane with everything that was going on.
I found the story to be too slow in the beginning and too fast in the end. It just didn't seem very realistic on its timeline, especially in the second half. And some of the things that the characters did, well I would have thought there'd be a lot more security and restrictions than there was. But then again I have never personally been through an ordeal like the one in Room so it's hard to say what actually happens aside from the clips one hears on the news. I wasn't very fond of Jack being the narrator. I know it's a "novel" way of writing the book and understanding what's going on. But like a child, Jack rambles quite a bit about details I just don't care about. And after several chapters of it I found those details to be tiring. There was so much that wasn't included in the book because it was from a child's point of view as well. At the very least I would have liked to have seen it bounce between Jack's point of view and his mothers. To fill in those gaps.
But it is what it is and while Room is unique, I don't think that it's fantastic. It takes a sad topic, puts a different spin on it, and makes for a quick read on a subject that is more serious in nature.
This has been my favorite out of all the Lord of the Rings novels. They seemed to get progressively better, of which I'm glad because I wanted to knowThis has been my favorite out of all the Lord of the Rings novels. They seemed to get progressively better, of which I'm glad because I wanted to know what all the hype was about since this was my first time reading the series. For those who have never read any of the books as well, don't start at this book, start at the beginning or you can be completely lost in Tolkien's rather largish world.
In this we have two different story lines. One is of Frodo and Sam. When we last left poor Frodo he had been captured by Orcs and taken to a tower as prisoner. Sam has to rescue him, and even when he does, they are left deep behind enemy lines and must make their way to the mountain where the ring can be destroyed. Meanwhile, the rest of the characters are at war. Each has his own place in the war and they must defend Gondor and break the Black Gates of Mordor to survive. But even if they do win, they don't have any idea of what is waiting for them at home after so long a journey.
There is a second part to this book in the appendices. They are filled with lore, language, and history of Middle Earth. While I enjoyed the language section it is interesting to note that history for Middle Earth seems to be written like history in real life, and as such, was kind of boring for me. Despite that though I will not be including this section in my rating of the book as I believe that a good portion of the people will buy the book for the story and find the appendices a bonus.
The characters are better developed and really start coming into their own in this novel. Even the language is more unique to each of them, especially the hobbits. I was sad to see that while Gollum played an important role in this book, it wasn't a very large one. I also still thank that Sam is the best of the hobbits on the journey.
The writing is still very descriptive but doesn't bog down the story quite as much as it does in the others. Towards the end they do seem to make a big deal of names and this can get tedious at points. There is some violence, but that part isn't as descriptive and nothing is really too offensive in this book. Most importantly, since this is the end book, there is a sense of closure.
I'm glad to have finally read all of this series for the first time and mostly enjoyed it. While I don't see myself rereading near in the future, I suspect that I will return to it someday. Its a great fantasy for lovers of the genre.
Return of the King Copyright 1955 340 pages, with appendices 470 pages
Having only recently delved into the works of Tolkien recently for the first time, I have to say that I wasn't all that impressed with The Hobbit or THaving only recently delved into the works of Tolkien recently for the first time, I have to say that I wasn't all that impressed with The Hobbit or The Fellowship of the Ring. While I thought that Tolkien had a fantastic and original idea for his time, his writing left much to be desired for me. I did however, enjoy The Two Towers more than the previously mentioned books despite it having a few flaws for me as well. The Fellowship of the Ring needs to be read before this book, and because of that, I am not going to recap what happens in that book for this review. So be forewarned, the following can contain spoilers for those who haven't read the first book.
Frodo and Sam had taken off for Mordor by themselves, leaving the rest of the Fellowship to its fate. They encounter the mysterious creature Gollum on the way and through capture, convince him to promise to be nice and lead them along the best path to Mordor. Gollum is a tricky character though and not the most trustworthy and leads Sam and Frodo closer to their peril. Meanwhile, Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli have set off in pursuit of Merry and Pipin, who were captured by Orcs. Along the way they come across the Riders of the Kingdom of Rohan, known for their horses, and in the midst of a terrible war. The war is with the white wizard turned evil, Saruman, and his army of orcs that his is unleashing on the Southern kingdom. They decide to help and turn the odds against this horrible force that is descending upon the land.
The characters in this book aren't quite as developed as in the first one. While we have plenty of background on the Fellowship characters from the previous book, we don't get much in the way of description for the Riders of Rohan or some of the other newer characters. I do have to say that Gollum is still my favorite. The interesting way he has of speaking and his interactions with the Hobbits are very interesting and a pleasure to read.
The writing is very descriptive in other ways and unfortunately this can make the book slow reading at parts. It would have been nice to have more character description as opposed to the multiple instances of describing scenery and legends that aren't even really pertinent to the story. I did find that this book had less song and rhyme than the other and I appreciated that as I tend to skip over them since they distract from the flow of the book. The book isn't very offensive either and despite having battles, not really violent.
I look forward to the last book and seeing if it will be my favorite out of all. My opinion has grown more positive with each book and I hope that it does improve.