I'm not quite sure what I had in mind when I picked this book up, but a full length analogical story definitely was not in my mind when I started. But...moreI'm not quite sure what I had in mind when I picked this book up, but a full length analogical story definitely was not in my mind when I started. But that really didn't matter, because that's exactly what Lewis wrote in "The Great Divorce".
In it, Lewis used a rather interesting vision of what heaven and hell are (not) like. I say "(not) like" because Lewis admits in his introduction that this was intended from the first to be a moral story, not an exploration of what might be. He explains his purpose in a clarity that only a writer of his caliber can explain - and I highly recommend reading the introduction, because it is short and simple, but sharply insightful.
The great divorce which Lewis is writing about is that great separation between Heaven and Hell. To me, it seems, the primary concern is with personal priorities and values. How much value do you place in your children, your friends, your personal opinions and soapboxes thereof? Lewis deftly and surgically dissects these and exposes their inherent danger.
I fear to attempt to explain much more for two simple reasons. I think my explanations will confuse more than intrigue, for I don't quite have the talent of Lewis for simplicity. And secondly, I would rather you approach this book with an open mind and experience an allegorical journey which is even more piercing for yourself than the title character, one which is written by a master of the genre.
So yes, I absolutely recommend this book. To everyone. It challenges you to think. I recommend it for teenagers as well as for adults. It would be a great book to read through with your children. Just get your hands on a copy and dive in!(less)
Heinlein's take on the biblical story of Job is a little less biblically based and a lot more fantastically oriented. That said, it is quite an intere...moreHeinlein's take on the biblical story of Job is a little less biblically based and a lot more fantastically oriented. That said, it is quite an interesting story, with a double share of twists and turns, and throughout it all you're rather unsure exactly where Heinlein is going.
The more religious minded might be rather offended at Heinlein's theological inversion of good and bad. I think this would be a tragedy, because the wide range of religions interwoven here it seems quite obvious this is not his version of the way things might be, but just a very creative exploration of "what if...?" What if you were just an unlucky pawn in a game between two really powerful players? What if they turned out to not be the most powerful? What if they were themselves not to high on the cosmic food chain? Where would that put you?
Heinlein has never been lacking the creativity department, and in places I think he pretty much let it run wild in this book. All said, the theology is blatantly non-scriptural, and in places, anti-christian. It is quite an interesting read, just don't pick it up with the wrong expectations of what you're getting into.(less)
Paolini continues his Inhertiance saga with Brisingr. Originally, I understand he intended it to just be a trilogy, but I think he's been having so mu...morePaolini continues his Inhertiance saga with Brisingr. Originally, I understand he intended it to just be a trilogy, but I think he's been having so much fun developing his world and characters, as well as the story, that the story is just getting longer and longer. For some authors, that would be a bad thing, but for Paolini it is just giving him more room to develop and flex his fantastical and creative muscles.
This is definitely not the book to start the Inheritance books with, so if you haven't read Eragon and Eldest, do yourself a favor and get your hands on them as well.
The book starts with a summary of the last two books, which you can definitely skip if you've recently finished reading the first two books of the series, but, if you're like me and it had been a bit, the quick rehash was a nice reminder of what had gone on before. There are little to no gaps between the events in the books of the series, each one picking up very shortly (as in days after) the last events of the previous book. This book is no exception, and you are thrown headlong into Eragon and Roran's fight to rescue Katrina, Roran's betrothed.
To me the book kept a very lively pace. Paolini has become very adept at balancing the action with the more narrative sections of his stories. That said, when I came to the end, I really felt I had just read the next step in Eragon's journey. Just as in Eldest, this book moves along through the story of Eragon, but it would have a hard time standing on its own - in fact, when removed from the series, it is rather anti-climatic. There is really only one conflict that is resolved in this book (revealed in its name), and that conflict seems almost secondary when compared against the other conflicts of the story.
In the end, I highly recommend the Inheritance saga to any and all fans of the fantasy genre. It is in the vein of Tolkien and maybe even Robert Jordan (the latter being one who has indulged in the epitomy of the unending saga). But don't read this book without having first read Eragon and then Eldest, you would only be doing yourself a disservice.(less)