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
What do I say about this book that wouldn't sound like a boring cliché? The success of the Lord of the Rings kind of came back when the movies came ouWhat do I say about this book that wouldn't sound like a boring cliché? The success of the Lord of the Rings kind of came back when the movies came out, but a lot of people who loved the movies (may I say most of them?) didn't really bother to read the books. Ok, it's not for someone who doesn't read all that much. The language is not as easy to read as in the Hobbit and the story moves at a slower pace. Of course it does, Tolkien wrote the Hobbit for children, while he intended for the Lord of the Rings to be for adult readers. The first book is like any other book that is part of a series. It contains a lot of explanation and the plot is not as thick and complicated. It's a start. What's different here compared to the other books is also the fact, that there's only one story line - the one about Frodo and the fellowship. In later books that changes, of course (view spoiler)[(as the fellowship splits in the end) (hide spoiler)]. I love this book and it's my favourite from the series. Maybe it's because it's still a bit naive and trusting and blind to the cruelty of the whole deal with the ring. It still has something from the Hobbit in it. The only thing I do mind a bit is that we don't see the developement of the characters that much here. Don't get me wrong, we do see a lot of it in later books, but I'm kind of an impatient person when it comes to this. So it's really my problem, not a problem of the book. There are some parts of the story that I considered a bit unnecessary (view spoiler)[(like the whole Tom Bombadil episode - what the hell was that?) (hide spoiler)]. Apart from that LotR is an amazing story and this makes a perfect beginning.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more