A classic piece of sci-fi. I did not expect this to become the escalating interstellar romp it evolved into. Definitely enjoyed it, definitely recomme...moreA classic piece of sci-fi. I did not expect this to become the escalating interstellar romp it evolved into. Definitely enjoyed it, definitely recommend it to any fans of adventure and/or sci-fi.(less)
I discovered Lamplighter via her husband, John C. Wright. His books are, simply put, amazing. And I was not disappointed in the least bit. Lamplighter...moreI discovered Lamplighter via her husband, John C. Wright. His books are, simply put, amazing. And I was not disappointed in the least bit. Lamplighter (her maiden name, I believe) is an excellent writer. The depth and epic proportions of the book are belied by the humble subtly of her writing.
Miranda is the daughter of the great Prospero, whom Shakespear wrote about so long ago. Though a young lady, Miranda herself is several centuries old and has lately found herself running the family business, Prospero, Inc., alone. One day she discovers a cryptic warning from her father, who has mysteriously disappeared, and sets out to warn the rest of her far-flung family. Partnered with an enfleshed wind spirit detective, as she tracks down each of her siblings more and more of the layers of mystery surrounding her father's disappearance are pierced.
As can even be glimpsed in this simple description, the story is built upon a mythology primarily derived from Shakespear, though there are many elements drawn from other major mythologies (Greek, Catholic, etc.). It seems like it would get convoluted and confusing, but Lamplighter manages to deftly move the story along while slowly and effortlessly revealing the mythological depth to the world she has created in her books.
And "books" it is. This is the first of a trilogy, and I would recommend not even opening this volume until you had the other two close at hand. As has happened to several of her husband's works, the publisher took a massive story and neatly chopped it into three parts. The end of this book barely has any level of resolution to it. All the major conflicts are still unresolved, and Lamplighter reveals another level of conflict even in the last few chapters.
With that warning in place, I do highly recommend the book. The reading just flows, the characters are vivid, engaging, and quite intriguing. In fact, for being an adult book, I was rather pleased at how "clean" it was. Though there is a level of romance, it is quite chaste, and the language is not profane at all. I would even go so far as to say it would be fine for any High School age teenager, and probably even any mature Middle School age children.
In the past I read a review which remarked that it seemed that Lamplighter was almost attempting to write "Christian Fiction." A claim which intrigued me. After reading this, the first of the trilogy, I think the jury is still out on the truth of that claim, but I can make a couple of observations. First, this is not a type of Ted Dekker or even C.S. Lewis "Christian" fiction. No, what Lamplighter has written here is set within a meta-narrative which is foreign to that of the Bible. It is rather close in some places. But, in a sense, it made me think of what Tolkien did with the Simarillion. To work in such characters as Elves, wind spirits, salamanders (fire spirits), the Water of Life, a Dante-esq Hell, and even Father Christmas (among many others) requires a different hierarchy of beings and even of creation.
Second, if a person goes into reading this trilogy expecting some sort of inspirational "Christian" fiction, they will be sorely disappointed and probably even offended. What Lamplighter is doing here is excellent, amazing writing and story creation/development. But because she chose to include such characters and to write the story she did, their very inclusion and nature begets a theology which is contrary to what is contained within the Bible. In my mind, this is okay because this is fiction on a grand scale, with not even a pretense of being very close to reality.
And lastly, early on in the book there was a short discussion on the person of Christ, what type of being he was and where he came from. I loved that she touched on this without trying to explain it all. For this book, at least, she left it a mystery. I am completely intrigued, of course, to see where she goes with it in the following books.
In conclusion, if you enjoy fantasy books - get the whole trilogy and block out a weekend to immerse yourself in it. If you just enjoy really creative stories, a good mystery, and don't mind some supernatural insanity - grab yourself a copy and curl up. This is an excellent book and I can't wait until my sons are old enough for me to share it with them!(less)
First off, I must confess, I love Weber's Harrington universe and all the books in them. So I was slightly disposed to enjoy this book from the time I...moreFirst off, I must confess, I love Weber's Harrington universe and all the books in them. So I was slightly disposed to enjoy this book from the time I cracked open the first page. And I will say, it did not disappoint. I think the most awesome part about this book is that, despite the fact that it is categorized as Young Adult, Weber doesn't dumb it down any. The universe Stephanie Harrington is born into is quite complex, with all the scientific advances as well as political situations. Weber simplifies, but doesn't dumb it down.
The first part of the book seemed to drag a little for me, primarily because I had read the short story (found in 'More than Honor') which Weber expanded upon in writing this book.
To me, the aspect which makes this a YA book is that the primary character is a young adult. But the situation she is finds herself in is quite an adult one, and her decisions and actions have real consequences. Weber does an excellent job of not shying away from these.
Another aspect of not dumbing down the material is that the book is rife with many sci-fi concepts, many of which are unique to Weber's universe this book takes place. Weber does an excellent job of introducing/revealing these things without overwhelming the reader.
In conclusion, I greatly enjoyed this book and can't wait until the next one comes out. I would highly recommend this to any teens (and adults!) - though be forewarned, this will definitely prove to be a "gateway" book for many into discovering the massive Honor Harrington series this YA series is a prequel to. Of course, in my mind, that's not a bad thing.(less)
I was thrilled when I heard that Kathy Tyers was writing another book in her Firebird series. This book, though, is about the children of the primary...moreI was thrilled when I heard that Kathy Tyers was writing another book in her Firebird series. This book, though, is about the children of the primary characters in the previous book. In fact, Wind and Shadow could be read by itself, though some of the depth of the universe Tyers has created therein will be lost.
Within the first few pages it can easily be seen that Tyers has put as much effort into the creation and maturation of her vision of the Firebird universe as she does into the Star Wars books she is much more well known for.
The book starts right into the action, with the initiating event occurring within the first few pages. Kiel Caldwell, an apprentice priest inexplicably disappears within moments of stepping off a his ship. Wind Haworth, the diplomat who invited him, is thrust into a maelstrom of events which quickly spiral out of control with the arrival of Kiel's brother, a powerful psychic who is slightly hotheaded. The scope of the danger quickly goes beyond mere local consequences as political plots are unveiled.
As I started reading, the pages were initially turning out of curiosity, but a few chapters into the book the pace really started to pick up and before I knew it I was just devouring the thing. The ending is quite climactic and very much a fitting apex to the entire story line.
It's hard to actually call this a Christian book, because, in fact, the faith and beliefs detailed are not Christian, per se. One of the big 'what if's behind the entire Firebird series is 'what if Christ had not come 2000 years ago, but instead came many years after man achieved space travel?' All of the conflicts in Kiel's faith (as well as the other characters) are nearly exact mirrors of many struggles every Christian has, therefore the moral and ethical solutions and resolutions resonate with the Christian faith. But technically the faith is not Christian because there is no Christ (at least not yet) in the Firebird universe.
All in all, an excellent book. If you get a chance, read the other Firebird books first, but don't let that stop you from reading this one, it stands excellently on its own. An excellent work of sci-fi!(less)
I had my expectations high because, well, this is John C. Wright. After picking up the pieces of my brain, which exploded somewhere in the latter thir...moreI had my expectations high because, well, this is John C. Wright. After picking up the pieces of my brain, which exploded somewhere in the latter third of the book trying to wrap my head around the mere concepts Wright was using, I can honestly say that he exceeded any expectations I had for the book.
This is a continuation of A.E. Van Vogt's World of Null-A and Players of Null-A. I never even read the other book in the Null-A series by Vogt because it was much derided as not really following the quality or heart of the first two.
That being said, Wright does an excellent job of pulling in all of the first two books (as well as certain events/elements from the third) and fitting them all into a meta-narrative which manages to eclipse the vision of them all - in a good way. Wright always likes to up the anty, and he ups it about as far as one could in this novel.
As far as writing style and movement, Wright did his best to duplicate the pulp fiction style of Vogt. And for the early part of the novel he hits it dead center, but by the middle he's drifting conceptually beyond where Vogt was in his first two novels (though I have no doubt Vogt would have loved where Wright decided to take the storyline). But throughout the novel the pace is quick and doesn't really relent much until the last page.
All in all, an excellent read. A must-read for any fan of Wright or Vogt. A must read for any fans of science-fiction in general. I do highly recommend you read first World of Null-A and then Players of Null-A before diving into this because I think it will help you enjoy the world, characters, and story even more (never fear, you can snag a kindle edition of each for $1 each!). If you just want to read Wright's book, though, he has a very solid summary of all the books which precede his in this Null-A series at the beginning of his book.
I picked this up because the author is one referenced by many authors I greatly enjoy and admire. Specifically, John C. Wright, because he wrote a con...moreI picked this up because the author is one referenced by many authors I greatly enjoy and admire. Specifically, John C. Wright, because he wrote a concluding book for the trilogy (with the blessing of Vogt's widow, if I remember right).
The book itself is a very easy read, and within the first several chapters you quickly realize that you are reading a book in which just about anything is possible because the author's imagination seems to have run quite wild. I greatly enjoyed this book, and can't wait to read the rest in the series!(less)
A very interesting read. Considering the book is nearly 150 years old, it reads incredibly well even in a contemporary setting. It really helped me wr...moreA very interesting read. Considering the book is nearly 150 years old, it reads incredibly well even in a contemporary setting. It really helped me wrap my mind around the differences between worlds of a single dimension, two dimensions, and how they would be interpreted and perceived by individuals from a three-dimensional realm.
It also has an interesting sociological commentary running throughout. It pretty much ended on a pessimistic note, though. I guess that makes it qualify almost for a tragedy.(less)
If you like hymnody, this is an incredibly comprehensive look at the rise of hymnody, specifically within Baptist churches, but it also touches on the...moreIf you like hymnody, this is an incredibly comprehensive look at the rise of hymnody, specifically within Baptist churches, but it also touches on the rise of hymnody in the church at large. At times it feels like they are just working their way through one hymnal publication after another, which can get pretty droll. But if you are interested in church music and its development this is an excellent resource for understanding how many churches transitioned from little to no singing to doing full blown hymns and embracing the use of an organ.
All in all, not the most exciting read - but hymnody is not a subject that is really action-packed. But it is very comprehensive and as a historical resource for better understanding the development of church music it is extremely valuable.(less)
Really solid book. This book brings together the story lines of the four different books that took place right before, during, and after War of Honor....moreReally solid book. This book brings together the story lines of the four different books that took place right before, during, and after War of Honor. Those are Shadow of Saganami, Storm from the Shadows, Crown of Slaves, and Torch of Freedom. To really understand everything that is unfolding in the Honorverse you need to read all of them before reading this book.
The book itself is much more focused on the political maneuvering and sparring that is taking place than the battles. Where War of Honor was one of the most insanely battle-packed Harrington novel (in my opinion), this is one of the least. There are a few battles, but they are quick and serve more to whet the appetite than anything else.
That said, the book was, as always, very well written and it proves a transition point for the culminating conflict that all the books in Weber's Honor Harrington series have been moving towards, so it was very fascinating to see he begin to bring all the various threads together.
I greatly enjoyed it - but I wanted to read the next book as soon as I finished because I know it is going to be twice as action-packed (I hope - hint, hint, Mr. Weber!).(less)
Excellent little book offering a contrasting understanding of canon and the development thereof, specifically within the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testame...moreExcellent little book offering a contrasting understanding of canon and the development thereof, specifically within the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament). The book is written for the more scholarly inclined, though, so be forewarned - you end up wading through some deeper stuff. He makes some very interesting points and connections about the associations (specifically) about books within the Twelve (the Minor Prophets) as well as the Writings - the book actually focuses on those two divisions of the Old Testament.
So, not too shabby if you're interested in digging a little deeper into the canon (and development thereof) of the Old Testament.(less)