This memoir begins with a fascinating hook--we are plunged into the impending wreck of a car accident. The first few chapters employ a brilliant techn...moreThis memoir begins with a fascinating hook--we are plunged into the impending wreck of a car accident. The first few chapters employ a brilliant technique, reading like the dream of a dying man whose life is flashing before his eyes. We quickly learn that the storyteller is not just special because of this horrible crash, but he also suffers from a rare congenital disorder known as AMC, or Arthrogryposis.
What an excellent structure to use to introduce the beginning of one's life! I very much enjoyed the sense of time, created by italicized portions which reminded us that the man reflecting on his childhood was currently bleeding on the concrete. The narrative style and literary devices used were original and imaginative, but unfortunately they quickly dissolved as the story segued into a more traditional style of retelling. I had been looking forward to the entire epiphany of reflection happening from that loaded moment on that pavement, but I suppose that would be unrealistic. The prose sometimes became didactic, but I simply loved the relaxed moments of humor which were liberally sprinkled into the story.
I must admit that I enjoyed the beginning of the memoir far more than the second half. At some points, the narrative becomes so heavily recounted through a Catholic filter that it may be challenging for an atheist to understand, or anyone with a different belief system. I was hoping to read more about Ward and his personal victories, but when every other sentence seemed to mention "God" I grew a bit confused.
As I read on, I realized that Ward's faith and spirituality give him strength and allow him to interpret the world in a unique light, and are thus a crucial part of his story. This is a poignant portrayal of the way one man's connection to a higher power helps him battle through adversity--he conquered, and continues to conquer grueling tasks, both large and small, and manages to simultaneously influence those around him for the better.
By all definitions, this is the story of an honest-to-goodness, flesh-and-blood superhero!(less)
Just a note of clarification to my readers: Boundless Sea is not the final book in the Sacred Breath series. There will be a total of seven books, man...moreJust a note of clarification to my readers: Boundless Sea is not the final book in the Sacred Breath series. There will be a total of seven books, many of which will be completed this year. Trilogies are much too short for my liking! I have listed Book #4, Abyssal Zone, to hopefully clear up this misunderstanding: I thought that after spending six months writing three books one after another, I should step back and take a breather. I wanted to view the series from a different angle before immediately attacking another three books and the finale. The ending for Boundless Sea was chosen because I believed it was the most emotionally powerful moment on which I could close this segment. It is also most essential to future events, and therefore it must be memorable.(less)
I just finished this story a few minutes ago, and it has left me with a rare feeling of satisfaction. I could have read it in one sitting, but I space...moreI just finished this story a few minutes ago, and it has left me with a rare feeling of satisfaction. I could have read it in one sitting, but I spaced it out over three days, allowing myself to reflect on the themes and situations as I went about my everyday life. The story was never far from my mind, and I was always eager to get back to it — Chiyo got deep under my skin.
From the onset I was enchanted by the raw and vivid descriptions. The author writes battles so well that I almost believe she has ventured into the midst of a field of dead bodies, and crouched down to feel whether they were warm or cold, wet or dry. I almost believe she has inhaled deeply to perfectly relate the aroma of decay to us, as wine connoisseur might. I loved it. It was as real as the dream from which you awake sweating and panting, but you immediately want to lie back down because it is so much more thrilling than anything you normally experience in life. This is one for the intellectual anime fans — I had a good chuckle at a reference to Kagome.
Let’s talk about the boys: I've always had a soft spot for a pair of really good male friends. It demonstrates a man's character when he is loyal to someone and treats him like a brother. The casual, knowing manner between the men just melted me. It was believable that they had always been close, completing the missing parts of each other. I loved the us-against-the-world vibe to their camaraderie. The author uses such endearing metaphors to describe the dynamic between the men as we progress, and it’s simply perfect. I appreciate the time and care she must have put into developing these amazing personalities.
Somehow, it filled a need in me to travel along with Muhjah and Senka and live vicariously through Chiyo. I enjoyed it immensely, from the smallest details of having tea to the well-written battles. There are few things more precious to me than that feeling of brotherhood: being respected as an equal by powerful men, valued for skill and intellect and not just for beauty and more shallow feminine qualities. I haven’t felt that in a long time, and I was overjoyed to find it in this story.
The religious fables were both entertaining and well-woven into the plot. Not a word was wasted. How can I describe the gratifying thrill of being with characters that shamelessly embody your innermost desires? They admit to fearing peace and living for the fight, and this made my heart sing out in understanding. I have often felt guilty for having similar desires and seeking dangerous situations. If you are an aggressive soul, and if you have ever thought to yourself, “I wish someone would attack me right now and give me a good reason to fight,” this story will make you feel vindicated. For the characters, there need not be any reason — battle IS the reason, and that is glorious to me.
At first I was uncomfortable with the randomness and lack of purpose, but I understood that it was the point. By the end this discomfort had disappeared. I was able to relate to Chiyo more than I have been able to relate to a heroine in ages, if not ever! (After her transformation, that is. I have never had the privilege of being a happy wife and mother.)
The writing is so excellent and rich that when Ms. Forsythe depicts Chiyo lying on the brittle grass or taking a bath, I feel the grass poking me and the softness of the water. Her style is literary yet flippant — intelligent yet casual, and ultimately addictive. It's rare to see a female writer have such a keen respect for blades. The intricate, reverent descriptions of the majestic killing implements left me breathless. At one point, I was reminded of the Shield of Achilles. I was charmed and swept away by her superb and well-imagined weaponry. This really dug its way into my heart.
There are many love stories out there, but this novel speaks to a woman’s inner and outer strength and endurance, a sense of duty and divinity, and the randomness of purpose. It presents interesting questions about the control one has over their own life. This story was about far more than love.
I look forward to reading more from Ms. Forsythe. (less)
While I will stroke this lovingly every time I come across it on my bookshelf, I will admit that it does not have the depth of many other novels I rea...moreWhile I will stroke this lovingly every time I come across it on my bookshelf, I will admit that it does not have the depth of many other novels I read in my youth. Although it does have the adventure. And heck, all I really needed as a rambunctious schoolgirl was an adventure fix, accessible right from my bedroom! A bit of time travel never hurt anyone either. (less)
I couldn't possibly explain how much this book means to me, or tell you how many times I have read it....moreOftentimes, this has been my guidebook to life.
I couldn't possibly explain how much this book means to me, or tell you how many times I have read it. It is extremely high on the list of books I intend to force my kids to read when I have them. (The kids, not the books. I already have the books.) This story is a sweeping, breathtaking tale of adventure and personal growth, in a rich and humorously imaginative landscape. Elements of Greek mythology are woven in seamlessly and almost imperceptibly, along with cautionary tales and fascinating, worthy lessons. This book made sense to me at five years old, it made sense at ten, and it made sense at fifteen and twenty, albeit in different ways. At any age, this book is indispensable.(less)
I dug up an old review I wrote on Amazon for this in 2004, when I was 16 and had just finished reading it:
This book... had a very evil feel to it. Th...moreI dug up an old review I wrote on Amazon for this in 2004, when I was 16 and had just finished reading it:
This book... had a very evil feel to it. The characters weren't as well-defined as in the other books, or perhaps just not as appealing. I thought Jennsen was quite determined to be stupid throughout her journeys, but her character was saved in the end. The scene with Oba and the Mord-sith is not one easily forgettable, it's enjoyable in the most sadistic of ways. You definitely could not read this book and get everything out of it if you hadn't read a few of the others preceeding it, so you had a feel of what was going on with the Order and Richard. I did find myself greedily awaiting appearances from Richard and Kahlan, because those two characters are the kind one can read about forever and identify with... Jennsen, I wanted to hurt; although that does say something about how brought alive the characters were. Still, definitely an evil feel to it. I love the terms "hole in the world" and "pillars of creation", such chilling thoughts. The kind that remind you of something, far off and long ago that you just can't place but it made you scared perhaps without cause. This is a book that will make you think and wonder and probably leave you more confused than you were at the beginning, and wanting to write a review about just how much you disliked it. The fact is, you will probably dislike it as you're reading it, and want to put it down but you will not be able to. You'll read it through till the end and then perhaps think it a waste of time, and you should have stopped reading when you felt like it... but of course you couldn't. This is a page-turner if I ever heard of one. Maybe you're better off not wasting hours on it but I still recommend it.(less)
I have read this whole series several times over, and while I believe the series became stronger as it progressed, I can't deny the sweetness of the f...moreI have read this whole series several times over, and while I believe the series became stronger as it progressed, I can't deny the sweetness of the first meeting between Richard and Kahlan. There is just so much to say about this novel. Kahlan's strength, Richard's kindness-- the powerful descriptions of their love. Also, what imagination! The boundaries-- what an incredible idea, and incredible metaphor. This novel is the kind that reminds you to be resilient when life gets tough. Thank you for this gift, Terry Goodkind! (less)
I read this novel when I was much younger, and re-read it again in recent years. What I discovered is that it greatly shaped my opinion of the world,...moreI read this novel when I was much younger, and re-read it again in recent years. What I discovered is that it greatly shaped my opinion of the world, and deepened my cynicism towards men. It is impossible not to admire the strength of the main female character, but to pity her as well-- what this book has taught me, and what I appreciate it teaching me, is that it does not pay to be a good woman devoted to one man for your entire life. You will inevitably get stomped on and mistreated, and it will inevitably kill you. It -does- pay to be a bad girl, manipulative, pretty, and callous, and reaping the benefits of the hard work of doormat good women. I hated Lotus, and I loved O-Lan passionately, but I would rather BE Lotus, because she doesn't get taken advantage of and walked all over. If I ever have a daughter, this will be required reading for her before she's ten years old.(less)
I was blown away by the well-crafted world of this novel. There are governmental organizations and interesting science-fiction elements which will sur...moreI was blown away by the well-crafted world of this novel. There are governmental organizations and interesting science-fiction elements which will surprise you with their depth and complexity. The protagonists are strong and likeable, and the secondary characters have well-developed idiosyncrasies. What struck me most about Ms. Adams' writing was her expertise in elegantly describing unusual textures and atmospheres. I can see the work she put into every line in order to make it enjoyable for us readers! I was enchanted by the visuals which her first-person narrative brought to life. Her world is a stunning panorama of rich color and sensation. The slow, suspenseful discovery of the more mysterious characters contrasts quite well with the outgoing and "peppy" characters. Two strong male protagonists are charming and fascinating—both have interesting pasts and personalities developed by their personal hardships. They displayed qualities of bravery and showed loyalty to Dawn, and were all-around great guys. What really sets “ReVamped” apart from other YA Paranormal Romance novels is the strength and constancy of the heroine. Dawn remains true to her tough-girl character throughout the story, never once breaks or compromises for love. She does not give in to any of the weak, mushy archetypes which you normally find in the genre. The story is wonderful and I really cannot wait to read the sequel. It honestly made my day brighter to spend time with this lovely cast of characters!(less)
This is a chilling look at the selfishness in all of us which causes callousness and indifference to the suffering of our friends and family. The use...moreThis is a chilling look at the selfishness in all of us which causes callousness and indifference to the suffering of our friends and family. The use of shifting perspective was expertly employed, and a detailed and grotesque picture was painted of this man's life and death. Everything, every action and thought is stripped down to its bare bones and the reasons behind all of it, so it would be impossible not to relate to this story and think of your own mortality as you read.(less)
Well! While this book was decidedly creepy, I can't deny that it was way ahead of its time, and the biology was sickly fascinating! I was forced to re...moreWell! While this book was decidedly creepy, I can't deny that it was way ahead of its time, and the biology was sickly fascinating! I was forced to read this novel for a fourth year seminar on Darwin and Literature, and I found it to be a rewarding experience.
Just a little creepy. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. (less)
This book is amazing and beyond epic. I think the Wolf is one of the most memorable captains in all of literature, in spite of and because of how desp...moreThis book is amazing and beyond epic. I think the Wolf is one of the most memorable captains in all of literature, in spite of and because of how despicable he is! As an author who chose to write about the sea, and to have a sea captain as my main protagonist, I must admit that I have tried my best to make my character THE EXACT OPPOSITE of the horrible, horrible man who is Wolf Larsen.
But he is still quite memorable, is he not? It's interesting that the protagonist completely escapes me while I remember such vivid detail of Wolf Larsen. It is an interesting novel which is characterized by its antagonist. He is also strangely sexy, if you're into dominant, testosterone-charged, nihilistic alpha-males. (I am.)(less)