I've been a book worm for pretty much my whole life. I've read many types of books over the course of my life, but currently the sorts of books I enjoy the most are fantasy and science-fiction. I particularly like it if these genre's are mixed with comedy like the style of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. I definitely can enjoy more serious fantasy and science-fiction though. I also enjoy vampire books, but not quite as much as I did when I was younger.

This blog is mainly for my book reviews, but I also post quotes and other random book related things. If you'd like to know more about the books I've read and am planning to read, I'm a member at several different book sites, and links to my profiles are listed under My Pages.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Review of A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle

A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle is about the quest to stop a South American dictator from initiating nuclear war. Charles Wallace, with the help of his older sister Meg, must travel through time and manipulate events by "going within" other people in order to prevent this disaster from happening. I found the whole "going within" thing interesting and a bit like Quantum Leap. I was also intrigued by how things from different time periods seemed to affect each other. I really love the protection spell that was used throughout the book and I've used it in my own prayers ever since the first time I read this book. The story was ok on the whole, but the main plot really didn't do much for me, though I recall enjoying the book a lot more when I was younger. I'd recommend this book if you enjoyed the first two books in the series, especially The Wind in the Door, as you get to see more of the deep spiritual connection between the characters that you saw in that book. This book takes place after Many Waters even though it was written first, but it's not necessary read the books in chronological order.
"Hate hurts the hater more than the hated."

 ~Madeleine L'Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Review of Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle

Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle is about twin brothers who accidentally tamper with their father's experiment and get sent back in time to biblical prehistory where people live for hundreds of years and mythological creatures are commonplace. They are unprepared for the extreme desert climate and suffer from extreme sunburn and heat stroke. Some natives, who turn out to be the family of the biblical Noah, help nurse them back to health. After the twins realize where and when they are, they must race against time to figure out a way to get home before the flood waters come.

I really enjoyed this book and especially liked how the author drew from non-traditional religious sources such as The Book of Enoch. I also really liked some of the spiritual themes in this book which seemed universal even if it is based on a Judeo-Christian story.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys biblical fantasy or enjoyed the author's other books. Although this book was written after A Swiftly Tilting Planet, it actually takes place before that book. I personally prefer to read these books in chronological order, but I would only recommend that others do so if they don't mind taking a break from the main characters that feature in the first three books of this series.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Review of In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent by Andy Peloquin

In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent by Andy Peloquin is a story set in Atlantis not long before its destruction. The end of Atlantis is prophesied by a mysterious stranger during a religious ceremony who claims that Atlantis will be destroyed if the people do not mend their ways and turn back to their true god. Not long after this there are repeated attempts on the lives of the Empress and her Chancellor, and it should be noted that the majority of the story is centered around these attacks and trying to find out who is behind them. The impending doom of Atlantis is just something else that happens to be going on at the time.

I have mixed feelings about this book. It's certainly not what I was expecting as the end of Atlantis wasn't the main focus of the book, but it's a pretty good story just as a mystery novel. So I'm not sure I'd recommend it to anyone just based on the fact that they love stories about Atlantis, but if you think you would enjoy a mystery/thriller set in a city similar in many ways to ancient Rome then you might enjoy this story. In some ways it reminds me a bit of Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Fall of Atlantis because in that book the destruction of Atlantis wasn't the main focus(in fact it didn't even happen until a sequel was written much later), but it was more of a mystery/romance novel.

Although I did enjoy the story as a whole there were certain things that really rubbed me the wrong way. Just based on the story alone I might have rated this book four stars but it lost a star due to everything I will describe in the following paragraphs. The author made a really weird choice and did a flash forward scene in the prologue. There were also a few other flash forward scenes throughout the book. I'm really not a fan of flash forward scenes at all in TV and movies, but this was the first time I had encountered it in a novel so I tried to keep an open mind about it. By the end of the book I decided that while it was somewhat less confusing to me in a written piece than in a movie or a TV show, I still didn't like it very much and it made me feel like I was reading two different stories. Perhaps it would have been less confusing if the first flash forward scene was done later in the book instead of right at the beginning because there was just too much going on along with too many characters being introduced all at once. I think on the whole I would have preferred it if the author had just combined all the flash forward scenes into a chapter or two and inserted them in where they actually took place in the book.

Another thing I didn't like all that much is that the perspective changed many times in the book. Most of the book was done in first person from the point of view of the Chancellor, but the flash forward scenes were done in third person. It had to be done this way though because the Chancellor was not present in the flash forward scenes. So first person could not have been done unless it was switched to the point of view of another person and in my opinion switching first person between different people is worse than switching between first and third person. I would have preferred it though if the author had just done the entire book in third person. While I do respect the author's creative choice to switch perspectives(even though I don't like it), there are certain areas where it definitely could have been done better. The first chapter starts off with the first person perspective of a gladiator in the midst of a battle who then dies, at which point the perspective changes to that of the Chancellor. This is very confusing and unnecessary. It would have been better to just start off with the Chancellor's perspective and show his view of the fight. Then in the second chapter it switches back to third person for a flash back and it was a bit ambiguous when that flash back ended and it seemed to switch back to first person mid-paragraph.

This is a minor complaint, but something that still bugs me. At the end of the second chapter there is a brief mention of the Chancellor making love to a woman. It doesn't say who she was, but I would assume based on context that she was his wife or girlfriend. What I found very odd was that she was never mentioned again in the entire book even as the Chancellor was lusting after other women. I'm not really sure why that woman was put in the book at all and I sense it might have been something the author forgot to take out.

In general the book could have done with a lot more editing. The entire book is riddled with typos and awkward grammar and in some places there are even words missing. It's not enough to make the book unreadable, but it is annoying and can detract from the enjoyment of the book somewhat. As much as I did enjoy the story, I'm very glad I grabbed this book when it was on sale for free. I think I would have felt cheated considering all the typos and mistakes if I had actually paid for it. As much as I hate to say it, I would not recommend purchasing this book unless a large number of typos don't bother you, it goes on sale for free, or the author puts out a second revised edition. I think this book has a lot of potential and I really hope the author edits and republishes it.