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While this is the third book of the Ember series, aside from the final chapter, this book completely stands on it's own. It's the story of 11-year-oldWhile this is the third book of the Ember series, aside from the final chapter, this book completely stands on it's own. It's the story of 11-year-old Nickie, who's come to the small town of Yonwood North Carolina with her aunt to clean up the house of her recently deceased great-grandfather. Brenda Beeson is the speaker for the town's prophet, a local woman who has spoken only random phrases since having a vision several months ago, and unofficially runs the town with her pronouncements on the Prophet's message.
While every book in this series has been a different kind of story, I like how they all carry the same message of how surprisingly easy it can be to act in fear, but how turning the tide toward love, kindness, and respect, while it may take real effort, is totally worth it. On the other hand, something makes me a little uneasy about the way DuPrau flirts with issues of religious faith while adamantly avoiding espousing affiliation with any specific religious view.
Another thing that's really starting to annoy me about this series is that it really could just be called: Grownups Are Corruptible and Screw Everything Up: Why Kids Should Be In Charge. Every book in this series is populated by adults who just can't seem to get things right and child protagonists who magically also seem to figure things out for everyone else. One book like that is interesting, but four stretches credulity.
I really enjoyed the adventures in first Ember book and while I've enjoyed that the rest of the series offers a chance to do more thinking about the serious issues facing that world, I just haven't enjoyed books 2 and 3 as much. I'll read The Diamond of Darkhold soon and then decide how I feel about the series as a whole....more
Shadow of the Giant ends at roughly the same point as Ender's Game, shortly after Ender and Valentine have reached their colony planet & reconcileShadow of the Giant ends at roughly the same point as Ender's Game, shortly after Ender and Valentine have reached their colony planet & reconcile themselves with their brother Peter, the (now retired) Hegemon. While I really liked the later Ender stories' mystical bent, I've always been too much of a politics junkie to not prefer the way Card uses international politics as a backdrop to cover some the same emotional territory with Bean. I also enjoyed that Bean's stories tell you a lot more about what happened to the other Battle Schoolers and explores just how special these children are....more
Holly was one of the authors I decided to check out after reading Beyond Heaving Bosoms. In this tale demons live in our world, but only in the remoteHolly was one of the authors I decided to check out after reading Beyond Heaving Bosoms. In this tale demons live in our world, but only in the remote areas like the Himalayas so that they don't have to mix with humans. Demons are similar to humans, but with a few key differences. Demons have a much stronger control on their emotions, but have a much laxer view of sex. Also really interesting is that male demons are the ones with monthly cycles instead of females. Once a month they go into heat and can only get *ahem* release with their genetic match, but specially trained servants called pillow girls can take the edge off their uncontrollable desire when their genetic match isn't available. When Prince Cor gets his first pillow girl, his hope is that she will awaken his sexual desire so that he can finally find his mate. But Xishi is different than other pillow girls and the two soon discover that their relationship is more than that of servant and master. The construct of this society is a little convuluted for me, but the emotional connection between Cor and Xishi was compelling. Still, this is one I won't need to reread....more