To be honest, I have expected a lot more of this book. Maybe it's the fact that I've read Mort and Good Omens or perhaps it was just the fact that I'vTo be honest, I have expected a lot more of this book. Maybe it's the fact that I've read Mort and Good Omens or perhaps it was just the fact that I've heard so many people praising Pratchett for the Discworld series. Somehow I don't see what everybody sees in it. BUT it's not bad either. I enjoyed reading it and even though I sometimes had to push or bribe myself into opening the book again, I never regretted it. Pratchett wrote a nice parody that touches not only the fantasy books, but mostly just the world around us. I can push aside the fact that parody is not my cup of tea. Even I can enjoy it if it's really good. And I did enjoy Pratchetts remarks and cues - when there were any. I think that this book was just fine. I don't think it was humorous or witty. I don't think it was brilliant and even though I admire Pratchett's imagination, I don't think it's uncommon to have enough of it to create such a world. The reason why Discwolrd is one of the kind is simply that everybody uses this imagination in a different way. Not to mention that with writers it's always a bit unsure what is the source of the story, the characters, the settings and so on. Many writers say that it's not a result of them thinking about it or conciously creating it. The idea just suddenly appears in their brain and they write and are surprised themselfs at what comes out of it. I do write a bit myself and I can confirm that it's possible. Maybe it's the imagination who puts those ideas into the writers brain. Maybe it's God (religious explanation) or nature (scientific explanation) or our parents (psychological explanation). I personally believe in imagination and I admit that Pratchett has a lot of it. Just not uncommonly so. The feeling I actually had was that Pratchett had a few ideas and thought of a few good jokes about several different things and then wrote a story so he could use them there. It's a bit like: "Oh, I know! How funny it would be if there actually was a little painter-demon in your camera." So he let Twoflower to have a camera. The whole thing with the first tourist and everything is brilliant, but after that, there's a whole bunch of nothing. An ordinary story. It all stands and falls with the jokes and there is not that much of them in the book. The style of the book is just about the same as everything else. It's nice but that's about it. The only think I really admire on Pratchett's style is that he's able to use an absurd comparison or unlikely words to describe something and you know exactely what he means. You read the words and you feel it, but if you think about it, it doesn't really make sense. For example the whole: "!" said the stranger. Now that is brilliant. If I look at all pros and cons, I can't help but think that the book was average. I didn't love it, I didn't hate it and I'm afraid that I will soon forget about it. But I probably will come back to the Discworld series and hope that I won't have to bribe myself into reading on by telling myself that I'll only start to read Catching Fire after finishing this....more
At first I planned on reading both Alice’s Adventures, but only a few pages into the first book I realized that I’m not drinking my cup of tea at all.At first I planned on reading both Alice’s Adventures, but only a few pages into the first book I realized that I’m not drinking my cup of tea at all. I need to tell you a story for you to understand my disappointment even at the risk of making you angry. Once upon a time there was a girl (not so little anymore, but not big either). She loved books, but she never really read popular books until after everyone else read them twice. She wanted to, but there were so many other books she wanted to read. She heard a lot about two children’s books particularly that everyone told her were amazing and that she just had to read it. When she was about fifteen she finally got to read the first of the two. It was a series actually – The Chronicles of Narnia. The girl at first thought she was too old for the books, but she loved them. Then, when she was over twenty, she remembered the second book – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This time she wasn’t afrain she was too old, because she still loved Narnia. But there was one little problem: Lewis Carroll wasn’t C.S. Lewis and Alice wasn’t Narnia. I have no idea, why this book is so often classified as a children book. I certainly will never read this to my children. The only thing that I think makes it a children book for people is the fact that the main protagonist is a little girl. Other than that I would call it a surrealistic psychological study of child’s mind bordering on absurd fiction and at times it mostly sounds like stream of consciousness (maybe the fact that Lewis Carroll used it before the modernists came is the reason why many consider him such a genious). It was clever to use the story-in-a-dream move, because then he could make anything happen without the risk of being accused of taking a drug before he started to write – or before he started to speak. I actually read on Wikipedia that originally, this story was an improvized tale he told some children during one afternoon. Now that explaines a lot! I have my experience with improvized fairy tales and a lot of them is just the main character stumbling around, meeting various other characters, each of whom is more absurd that the one before as the story teller starts to get distrated by thinking desperately how to end the tale as quickly as possible, but in a way that would satisfy the children, so they won’t ask for more. That’s how I see this story. Through half of the book Alice does little more than wandering around growing short and tall as if it was a piece of cake (which it actually sometimes quite literally is). She does it so often that I was wondering if there’s some deeper meaning to it, but I soon gave up on trying to understand. Maybe I’m analyzing it too much. But I did try to just read. Without thinking much about it. Unfortunately I was soon distracted by the pattern of the story, which was basically the same episode happening over and over again only in different settings with a different character. It was like reading Rosemunde Pilcher (or I guess that’s how it would feel to read her books – I saw a few movies and it was exactely like I said: same story, different settings, different names). In Alice’s case the pattern went: Alice grows taller or shorter, Alice meets someone, Alice makes an absurd conversation with the character, Alice goes on… You probably already guessed that I don’t like surrealism and this is the feeling I got from the book. It was surrealistic. Unfortunattely it completely overshadowed all the good things that I guess other people see in Carroll’s writing – the colorfulness and the imagination. I could not feel amazed by his imaginative tale when all this imagination was exactelly what made me feel constantly lost, overwhelmed, confused and at times kind of bored. Carroll Lewis writes in the kind of style I will never enjoy reading very much (unless I undergo a massive change of taste), so I couldn’t have given him a good score. I was tempted to give Alice just one star, but I decided on two, because of the Cheshire Cat (which was the only character who sparked my interest) and because at times I was actually a bit amused by the absurdity of the story, staring at the words with a distrustful smile, thinkng: „Oh, he must be pulling my leg now.“
Best supporting character: The Cheshire Cat Best scene: Alice is talking to the Cheshire Cat after visiting the Dutchess....more
Oh wait, that's not the right Inigo. My bad. But let it be recorded that Supernatural does have a gif for everything.
And now to the actual review. I w
Oh wait, that's not the right Inigo. My bad. But let it be recorded that Supernatural does have a gif for everything.
And now to the actual review. I would like to say that I tried really hard to hide all possible spoilers and I hope I succeeded. If I missed anything, I'm sorry. Please, point it out to me, so I can fix it.
I honestly do not know what I expected, but I will tell you that this book was and wasn't it. I've seen the movie, naturally, but I noticed a lot of people mentioned that the book was quite different than the movie. So I half expected a different story or a different tone or atmosphere. I got the same story (in essentials), the same tone and atmosphere. I did get a slightly different ending, but I will get to that. The core of the story stayed the same. The wrapping was different.
First of all, before you get to the actual story, you have to get through the introduction. And then another introduction. Both about how Goldman got around writing the book and shooting the movie. I started off taking him seriously, but it turned out that William Goldman is the sneakiest shit of all sneaky shits. He claims that this book is only a shortened version of a much longer and older story by S. Morgenstern. I am not one to read half-ass versions of anything, so I Googled it to see if I could get to the original version. Turns out there is no such guy as S. Morgenstern. At least not one who would write this story and that he is a figment of Goldman's imagination that allows him to brag about how awesome the story is without looking like an idiot.
On the other hand, I have to give it to Goldman. He knows how to fool people. Everything he talks about sounds very real, because he gives details and takes detours as if he was actually talking about his past. He does what people do when they tell you their story. I am actually a bit sorry that I found out about the Morgenstern ruse, although I would probably realize it anyway, because I know every country in Europe and I've never hear of Florin. It's kind of funny, though, because I can imagine most Americans would probably fall for that. It sometimes seems to me as if Europe is some sort of magical country to them, where everyone is merry and gay and there are all kinds of awesome countries like Florin or Genovia.
Also after I decided to just give up on trusting Goldman as an author, and see him as another character, my irritation with him lessened a bit. Until the I felt like he was playing a joke on readers that he was taking a bit too far. Like that cousin who tells you he's finally got a girlfriend and you feel honestly happy for him, until he, encouraged by his initial success at fooling you, says that she's a supermodel pornstar with a doctorate. I'm not saying there isn't a possibility that such a woman exists, but that she would date your incredibly boring, dumb, gross and immature cousin is inconceivable.
The book finally took off when I got to chapter 1 and I was pleased when I recognized some of the narrative techniques in what was allegedly Morgenstern's text. Goldman hardly bothered to change his writing style though he did add some tricks to it. What did not change is his attentiveness to detail, but it took a slight turn. He adds precise facts and statistics about such things as who is the most beautiful woman on Earth or how you meassure the quality of a kiss. It add a sort of absurd edge to the story and can be very entertaining.
This trick also translates into how he plays with setting the book into a time-period. He uses the same technique you can see in most fairytales - it tells you certain things about that time that make it sound like you could pinpoint the era (knights, swords, wine in a bottle, king...), only it's blurred, talks about "once upon a time" and in the end it's not important for the story. The author doesn't care and you don't care either. Goldman does the same thing, only he takes it further, all the way to the absurd edge. He tells you it takes place "before Europe" but "after Paris" and "long after quarreling" but "before board". The only thing that annoys me about this is that Goldman jumps into the story with an author note only to point this out. Oh, look, Morgenstern used this technique, what a smart guy. Only it was Goldman who used it and to point out your narrative tricks in the middle of the story is weird and kind of idiotic. He basically says: "Look, I know how to set the story into an unspecified time period while making it seem like I'm talking about a very specific one! I'm awesome and I really have to tell you because I can't bear the thought of you missing this ingenious move."
I already told you, the book is pretty much the same as the movie, except the ending. And there is a few passages in between that were skipped in the movie, but correspond with it. You get to know more about Inigo and Fezzik, which I thought was awesome, because I really love Inigo. I understand very well why these scenes were not in the movie though. On the other hand I am personally surprised that they did not put the scene where Fezzik and Inigo are trying to get to Westley through the Zoo of Death. Only in the movie they changed the whole place to the Pit of Despair, probably because it would be difficult at that time to shoot with real wild animals and they did not have CGI that could do it. And if they shot the movie again, it wouldn't be the same, because the kind of clumsiness that comes with older fantasy/fairy-tale movies is part of the charm in this one. And part of the slightly ironic, satirical tone you can feel from it. I'm still sorry I didn't get to see it though. But I'm biased.
For a similar reason, I just can't forgive Goldman for leaving out the scenes with Inigo and Fezzik getting ingredients for Max's miracle. It sounded wonderful from the short passage where Goldman was explaining what he "left out from Morgenstern's version". He said he did it because he wanted to focus on Westley and Buttercup and these scenes were out of the main line of the story. And I suppose he's right in a way and I would agree if I was a fond of Buttercup and Westley as I am of Inigo and Fezzik. I actually want the whole book to be about Inigo, with Fezzik as a second main character, but unfortunatelly it isn't.
On the other hand, I agree with "Stephen King" or Goldman's version of Stephen King, who reproached Goldman for leaving out Buttercup's studies. I would love to see those scenes as well for several reasons and one of them is that it might help me like Buttercup better.
You might have noticed that I said I am not that fond of Buttercup and Westley. To be honest, It's mostly Buttercup. I can't take her seriously. Well, I probably shouldn't anyway, since this whole story is not serious and perhaps it might be even pointing out the exact problem I have with her. And I do realize this was written back in 1973 and by a guy, who's wife left him, but still. Buttercup does absolutely nothing for herself or for what she wants. She's just passively waiting for Westley to save her. If this book was written now, Buttercup would probably get out of this whole mess before Westley could even find her. Or she would at least try. (view spoiler)[She would definitelly not sit in the room where Humperdink locked her and feel sorry for herself. Westley would not stop her from commiting suicide but from trying to tie the bedsheets together so she could climb out of the window, at the very least. She would grab Westley's sword and stab that giant rat in the Fire Swamp herself. (hide spoiler)] This girl is a Bella Swan and I can't really respect her. The only bright moment I can remember was her dealing with prince Humperdinck in a very straightforward and honest way (view spoiler)[when she agreed to marry him if he can accept that she'll never love him (which prince Humperdinck promptly ruined when he started to lie to her). And I suppose the second bright moment was when she yelled at the guards right at the end, so they would let them pass. (hide spoiler)] But that's about it.
I don't have that much of a problem with Westley, except that he's kind of annoying when he's all mushy about Buttercup. I know I sound like the little boy from the movie, but I kind of agree with him about the "kissing parts". I do love a good romance. But this book was good for hundreds other reasons, just not for this one.
The last part, Buttercup's Baby, was even more schizophrenic than the previous story. For starters there was the introduction that reached a whole new level of crazy when Stephen King appeared. But the actual story was even crazier. Goldman claims it's only the first chapter of another Morgenstern's book. And it's written that way. Not only the ending of the Princess Bride was weirdly open (well, one of the endings, because there were two), but on top of all the first chapter of Buttercup's Baby ends in a cliffhanger. Almost literally. (view spoiler)[It ends in what usually follows a cliffhanger - in the fall. (hide spoiler)] Goldman also jumped into the story a lot more than in the previous story. And finally, There was the beginning and the ending that took place during the same time and then there were three parts in between that jumped all over the timeline and one of them was entirelly out of the whole concept (view spoiler)[- it was about Inigo, so I would overlook it, but it was surprisingly boring and pointless. Well, the point could be to show Inigo's more human side, but it's not like I didn't see it before. (hide spoiler)]
I thought it was kind of funny when Goldman started about King at the end of the book. Symbolic, really, because I'm reading Mr. Mercedes right after that. I enjoyed Goldman's "real-life" story in the last part a lot more than that at the beginning and a big reason were the bits about Arnold Schwarzenegger (that was hilarious, really) and about Stephen King. Though it was probably all fiction. Is Goldman even real? Are his movies real? Is King real? Am I real? What is real? Great. Now I'm having an existential crisis. And that's coming from a Cimrman fan (if you don't know who Cimrman is, which you probably don't unless you're Czech, he's about as real as Florin, but according to a recent study he's one of the most popular historical figures in the Czech Republic).
I have my notes I took while I was reading scattered all over the place and I might go through them later and add some more to this review (which was for the most part put together by rewriting some of the notes).
All in all though. Now that I finished the book, I realize that I did like it a lot. It didn't matter that I knew what was going to happen. I liked the slightly sarcastic style, the humor and the story itself. When I look back I did not even mind the "autobiographical" parts as much as it probably seemed at the beginning of this review. But one star has to go. It wasn't THAT good. It was not one of my top books. Buttercup was Bella Swan and the author lied through his teeth and then used the lie to brag. Four stars is still very good though.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This is one of the books I will probably never get tired of. I remember discovering this series years ago, while searching the shelves labeled "FantasThis is one of the books I will probably never get tired of. I remember discovering this series years ago, while searching the shelves labeled "Fantasy & Sci-fi" in the local library. The problem with series like this and the city libraries is that you rarely find the first book there. Someone is always reading it. In this case though, I was lucky. I think I didn't really appreciate it that first time, though. It was the period of my adolescence, when I rarely enjoyed other books than those that were directly focused on romance. Therefore, I liked the chemistry between Richard and Kahlan, but I was quite annoyed by how long it took them to actually get together (and if I was angry about that even if they spent most of the book together, I'm amazed I finished the second and third book, where they barely see each other). I completely missed what the book was really about because I was basically only reading all the other parts just to see when they finally get together. I came back to the book about two years ago and I was amazed by it. I was blown away. I picked it up because I was reading A Game of Thrones at that time and I wanted to read a fantasy book which doesn't constantly give me the feeling that it will all go to hell no matter what. I thought Goodkind was harsh and too drastic when I first read the series, but really, once you meet Martin, everything else seems like a Disney fairy tale (I say Disney, because from what I've heard, the original version of the Little Red Riding Hood could give Joffrey Baratheon a run for his money). It can be slightly too much sometimes, I admit, but once I let myself see all the parts of the story and not just those where Richard and Kahlan talk about their relationship (or the reasons why there's none), I was gone. First of all, Richard is an amazing character. He really is a guy and he makes mistakes, he doesn't always know stuff, but when he does, it's definitely worth it. He actually reminds me of Harry Potter somehow. They can be equally slow and annoying sometimes, but once they figure out what they need to do, they make up for every single time you lost it and yelled at the book: "When will you stop being such an ass to everybody, let go of your hero-complex and understand that maybe your friends have a point when they say you can't do everything alone, Harry!" With Richard, those moment don't come nearly as often as with Harry (actually, it's usually Kahlan who makes you want to yell at her), but there are some. Goodkind is very respectful towards women in his books. He makes them real and equal to the male characters. Kahlan is an excellent example of this. In the first book, she is number one in the Midlands and you can see that Richard is humbled by her. But he's by no means inferior to her. They really are equal partners and I like that Goodkind knows how to write it. The story itself can seem a bit predictable. Let's put it this way: You know where the road ends, but there is quite a few surprises waiting along the way. Sometimes you feel that the characters can't get out of something and when they do, you are usually at awe by how they managed it. But when you look back, you realize that the solution was there all the time, you just didn't see it. And last but not least, I always loved the moments of revelation in the books. Whether it's a little secret or a huge mystery, I always loved to see how shocked the other characters are. Goodkind can definitely write such moments in a way that makes your insides flutter with joy, but it doesn't go over the top. There's just some little fact that you know the whole time and for some reason, the authors avoid the moment some other character finds out and is appropriately shocked by it. With Goodkind, you can wait for a while, but in the end you're leaving the scene smiling, thinking: "Yes, that's exactly what I wanted to see." I will definitely read this book again...and again and again :)....more
I think I will never grow tired of Lewis' parallels with the Christian tradition. I am not Christian, but I was always very interested in the religionI think I will never grow tired of Lewis' parallels with the Christian tradition. I am not Christian, but I was always very interested in the religion and its history and these books are practically packed with references to the Bible. This one is particularly beautiful and interesting because it spends most of the time comparing two very different cultures with different believes. So besides religion, the other theme is culture shock. Shasta, though apparently belonging to the northern culture by birth, was raised in Calormen (which is a clear parallel to the Arabic countries) and travels to Narnia (which represents western Europe). So in a way this book also deals with a conflict of the Islamic and Christian religion even though I would say that Lewis was trying to be carefull about it, so the beliefs of Calormen are mentioned just briefly. I would say its much clearer in The Last Battle. The book is very easy to read, mostly because it's written for children, so it shows in the language and the style a lot. But Lewis knew how to write for children in a way that won't sound annoying to adults. He doesn't sound patronizing and though there are moral lessons (mainly from Aslan) it doesn't bother me to think about them or even to actually accept them. He knew how to put it in a way that doesn't make me to roll my eyes. The reason why I don't like this book as much as other books from the series (because there are three which got five stars from me) is that I'm the type of the reader who grows attached to certain characters. This series is not consistent in this aspect, having three or four sets of main characters and I found it difficult to accept. I actually never really did, I think. Of course, the true main character of all books is Aslan (at least I feel he's meant to be), but I'm not talking about him. I find it surprising that even though I read The Magician's Nephew first, the character I grew attached to the most doesn't appear there. We meet that person in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But it's not Lucy. In this case I would actually be quite lucky, because she appears in five books out of seven. It's not Edmund, who also appears in five of them. It's a character who appears in person only in three of the books. You'll see that I gave five stars to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and The Last Battle. We don't see Susan it The Last Battle since she abandoned Narnia. So the character is Peter Pevensie. Took me long enough to tell you, didn't it? :) I do understand why Lewis didn't stick with the Pevensies, but I can't help the way my reader part of the brain works. It doesn't even matter to me if the character I grow attached to is the main protagonist or not. In The Hunger Games I grew attached to Gale and he only appeared on a few pages. Once I started to like Peter and started to see him as the High king of Narnia, there was no going back. It lessened any appeal that any other Narnian king could have for me and it also made any group of people not led by Peter less important. In this book, Peter is the only one out of the Pevensies we don't see, because he went on some absurd expedition to sort out the matters with the giants (ok, it's not absurd, but I'm sulking). We do hear about him, but it's nothing of consequence. I didn't feel particulary close to any of the characters in this book. I did feel a little better when Edmund, Susan and later Lucy showed up. It felt a bit like being at a party where I don't know anyone and suddenly three of my friends come through the door. It's the feeling of: "Great! Finally someone I know." If it was any other book it would probably bother me to no end and it would mean at least two stars down. But somehow, when I look back at the feeling I had when I read this, I can't do anything else, but give four stars. Maybe it's Aslan's warm gaze :).
Best main character: Aravis Best supporting character: Edmund Best scene: Shasta's listening to Susan's, Edmund's and Tumnus' conversation....more