Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Sci-fi? Garth Nix?! [Paradox. Unsolvable simultaneously. Shutting down.]
Well, yes. It seems that Mr. Nix is multi-talented, after all. But one quick look at the cover, it's so damn obvious that it's still a fantasy-type story. Sure, they've got grenades, guns and holographic machine-mind entities... but that was present in the Old Kingdom Trilogy too. (Minus the holographic egoistical bastard, Shade.) So, nah, it's not really a sci-fi story after all.
It did have a Blade Runner-esque feel to it though, even if I haven't seen the movie and thus have no real authority to say that. Ahem. Anyway, it's set in a post-apocalyptic future where no adults are present and the world is overpopulated by Creatures created by the Overlords. Apparently, sometime fifteen years ago, when the Change happened, they came (from another dimension, presumably) and translocated all adults into, you guessed it, another dimension. Shocking.
What happened to the children then? Well, in true Big Brother-style, the Overlords put all of them in the Dorms, where they are bred, fed and when they reach their 14th birthday, carried off to the Meat Factory (or as the Overlords called it, the Central Processing Facility) to be made into Creatures. I can't stress how B-movie that all sounded. *rolls eyes*
Actually, despite the Lava3 premise, Shade's Children is an enjoyable read. The four characters (Gold-Eye, Ninde, Ella and Drum) are quite endearing. The way they interact with each other and their views are fascinating. On that merit alone, this book would have scored 8 out of 10, but...
Y'see, Mr. Nix never really explained how the Overlords came and who they really are. It's frustrating to learn the existence of a supremely evil race of villains only to be deprived of the essential knowledge of who and what they are, much less why they came here in the first place. It's a lot like Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII but at least in that game, the designers had the decency to explain why he wanted to destroy the world, even if that explanation is a clichéd one. With the Overlords, apparently all they wanted to do was pit their creatures against one another, kind of like a violent version of a Magic: The Gathering tournament. Imagine if Sephiroth was really a 12 year old pimply geek... *shudders*
Shade was also another complaint. It was so friggin' obvious that he's going to betray them (maybe I've read one too many Dan Brown novels), you just want to bitch-slap Ella and point her to the blinking neon sign above Shade's robotic spider head that said, "U R SCREWED MUAHAHAHAHA!" Honestly, people, if you're a team leader you should've picked it up and there really is no excuse since Ninde is a mind-reader, for God's sakes!
Lastly, the ending wasn't as satisfying as one should be. Maybe it's Mr. Nix's one flaw, because most of his endings are done this way: abrupt. Though, in this case, it was atrocious; I had to re-read it several times, and I still don't get it! *grumble grumble* So, in that fashion, I shall end this by rating the book 5 out of 10.
And I'm being nice.
[Shut down and restart.]
at 4:44 PM
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Ah yes, the fantasy genre loves trilogies. The Malloreon, The Elenium, The Lord of the Rings, His Dark Materials, the Magic the Gathering Cycles, yes, the fantasy genre has been carried a long way on trilogies. We've gotten so accustomed to it that a fantasy book series with less than three books would be considered 'too short' and a series with more than three books would be considerd 'too long' (coughRobertJordancough). It's not a bad thing, really. More than once, the books that have swept me off my feet have come from trilogies. I think I need not gush on how much the His Dark Materials trilogy has affected my life. In fact, since the discovery of HDM, I haven't found any other trilogy that can actually captivate me and make me run to KLCC three days in a row to grab the rest of the trilogy.
Enter the Farseer Trilogy.
I remember reading a review on this series in 'The Star' before, though I won't say that the review was what compelled me to buy the series. Quite honestly, I took it out of instinct, grabbing it spontaneously off the shelf, not having anything else to read at that time. Guess that's how I tend to grab books I fall in love with. His Dark Materials, and now this trilogy are a testament to that fact.
Yes, this is another fantasy trilogy, with dragons, magic, kings and pirates, but to label it as 'typical' fantasy would be the biggest mistake anyone could ever make. The story revolves around FitzChivalry, bastard of the would-be King to the Farseer throne. At the young age of 6, (he can't recall much from before that age), he is sent to Buckeep Castle to be raised by his father's bloodline. His father, Prince Chivalry, who was supposed to be next in line to the throne was exiled upon discovery of his adultery, yet Fitz remains in the castle, raised at first by the stablemaster, Burrich. Through his eyes, we see the political games played inside the castle walls, where the main players are the two other Princes, Prince Verity (Chivalry's brother) and Prince Regal (stepbrother). Though Prince Verity, being the second son after Chivalry, is slated to be next to claim the throne from King Shrewd, it is no secret that the ambitious Regal will stop at nothing to try and claim the throne for himself. And at the same time, Fitz himself is often at the recieving end of Regal's hatred- apparently Chivalry never got along well with Regal well either. Regal would want nothing better than to have Fitz out of the castle, denied of any right to living under the Farseer name.
Which leads to the question, why exactly is Fitz allowed to stay on in the castle? Apparently, bastards can be used as weapons against the kingdom, as far as King Shrewd is concerned. The Farseer line comes with the ability to use a type of magic known as 'The Skill'. The Skill allows for reading the minds of other people across certain distances, manipulating, confusing, etc. etc. Where are the fancy fireballs, you ask? You won't find any here. There are only two forms of magic in this world- The Skill, and The Wit. The Wit allows for a psychic bonding with an animal familiar. People with The Wit in general can communicate with, not control animals, often resulting in being ostracized from society. The Wit is looked as 'dirty, dark' magic, and people who are caught with the ability are killed outright. It isn't until halfway through this book that Fitz is revealed to be capable of using The Wit, though Burrich forbids him from telling anyone about it, and forbids him from using it altogether, warning him that using The Wit will result in Fitz turning into an animal himself.
Magic aside, the brunt of this book is spent on detailing Fitz's early years in Buckeep, all the way until he starts learning under Chade (one of King Shrewd's assassins) to become an assassin. Hence the title. At the same time he also has to contend with Skill lessons, which don't go too well very often. When not in the castle, he tries to develop a normal love relationship with Molly, his love interest. And he juggles all this with the fact that someone is trying to kill him. Obviously, it's Regal. But with Regal being a Prince, there's not much that Fitz can do but try to stay alive.
Ah yes, Regal. I wouldn't be going too far by saying that he makes Umbridge of Potter fame look like a kind elderly lady who gives out candy to little children. The power that Hobb wields in this book, by making it told through a first-person viewpoint will make you weep, scream and hate along with Fitz once you get sucked in. And once you hate Regal, and I can guarantee that you will, you'll start turning pages, eager to see this bastard (not Fitz) get what he deserves. Though the opening for the book is arguably slow (it made one of my friends give up on it), once things kick into full gear (Regal starts causing problems, Fitz starts his lessons, his past is slowly revealed), you're not going to want to put this book down. And once you're done, you'll scream because you'll want Book Two immediately, but you'll sigh with relief knowing that your money was well spent.
Not picking up this book, for fantasy lovers, is a crime of the highest degree.
9 out of 10. Simply because the REALLY good parts are yet to come..
at 1:59 PM
Friday, August 12, 2005
Now, where do I even begin? I bought this book out of sheer wanting something extra to bring to KYUEM, and so I picked this randomly out of the fantasy shelf. And when I saw the statement '...rival Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials Saga...', I immediately decided to give this one a go. Well, not THAT immediately, there was another book I was going to buy, forgot the title, but I flipped a coin, and this thing one, and so I ended taking this one home, a decision that I would later regeret. Now, I'm not one for slamming books really. I rarely pick up a book that I absolutely do not want to read, and hey, I did FINISH this book, but I must point out that I did so at an absolutley sluggish pace (2 weeks, which, for me, is a LONG period when it comes to books. My friends can testify to that) And, boy was I glad that I finished it! Now I can toss it aside and start worrying about the rest of the books on my reading list.
Basically this story revolves around a fantasy version of London, darker, smokier, foggier, and run on a substance called aether, the fundamental base of 'magic'. Aether basically dictates life, the guilds control the aether, and those without guilds are forced to live in poverty. This story is basically of the transition from the 'Dark Ages', ruled by aether, to a 'Light Age', where things change for the better. The story is told through the eyes of one Robert Burrows, who plays a part in the change. The story basically involves a large amount of power play and politics, discussions and social classes. Simply said, some could relate it to David Copperfield or any other story written by Charles Dickens, albeit the fantasy settings. The world has its fair of issues to deal with, poverty being only one of them. There are also changelings, people who have been exposed to too much aether to the point that they are transformed into trolls, or other deformed monstrosities. Before you get any ideas of them being a problem in the 'mindless destruction' department, the problem really is that they're still human, just not treated that way.
Now, the author seems to want you to know every last detail of the narrator's life, and London, which is a good thing in certain point of views, but most of the time it throws the flow of the story off track, which is not a good thing. It doesn't help that I'm not a fan of political stuff, not to mention the fact that, when compared to Pullman, I expected a journey. Getting this, well, it got me disappointed. If you like this kind of stuff, then maybe you want to pick this up. On all other accounts, it'll make turning pages seem like a chore, so avoid like the plague.
3 out of 10. And I'm being nice.
at 6:07 PM
Sunday, August 07, 2005
This, my friend, is the book of a damn good trilogy. The Thousand Orc, by R.A Salvatore, may not sound like much of a title. But its whats on the inside that counts right? And the story on this baby is awesome! Of course to truly understand the whole story and get a feel for the character, you're going top have to start from the top which is going to be the... Crystal Shard Trilogy i think. Then work your way up until you reach this trilogy. I'll be doing reviews on them later.
Back to this one. I'll go briefly into the plot. It starts with how a group of travelling dwarves were climbing up a hill and suddenly bombarded by rocks and spears. Only two of em survived and so they hid together and saw orcs and frost giants in league with each other. Taking this as very bad news, they crawled out of their hiding place, one with a very bad limp, and walked all the way to meet Bruenor the dwarf, king of the Battlehammer Clan and his bad of friends. Wulgar and Cattie-Brie, adopted children of Bruenor. Drizzt Do'Urden, a rebel dark elf and Regis, a plump halfling. Together they make up the heroic band of Icewind Dale. Now, a lttle story on their background.
Wulgar is a barbarian, captured young by Bruenor when he was fighting against Bruenor. lol, he made the mistake of bashing Bruenor on the head with a staff. As a side note, DO NOT bash any dwarfs on the head. Doesn't work. So anyway, Wulfgar got a closer look at the beer mug elbem on Bruenor's shield and found himself in a cave since Bruenor didn't have the heart to kill him. Oh also i forgot to mention that the barbarians were attacking this village and the dwarves helped the villagers so...
Anyway Catti-Brie's story is different. She was adopted when she was a wee' little baby. You see, Bruenor and his dwarven gang was a tad too late to save this village from an orc raid. Of course, the orcs were all slain and all that but the damage was done. Catti-Brie was the only surviving thing there so Bruenor took her in and raised her as his own. Now she speaks with a dwarven slang.
Drizzt Do'Urden, dark elf by nature, Paladin Knight by heart. Which is ironice since his whole race is an evil race, their only purpose killing and chaos. His race is known for their evil ways and their unmatched swordsmanship and powerful mages. In this case, Drizzt Do'Urde is the best swordsman from The Underdark, a place from under the earth where the majority of his race live without light. Oh dark elves can't stand light and have that heat seeing thing ability. Anyway, Drizzt here, or known simply as Drizit, can't stand the evil ways of his race and ran away. He came unto the face of the earth to escape his race. He wandered around marvelling at trees and skunks and fishes. Then one day he met the great Montolio De Brauchee, a blind ranger and worshipper of the goddess Miellikki. He helped Drizzt find his way and thought him every thing he needs to know to live in this world of ours. Of course, his tale is longer than the rest so i'll stop here. If you want to know Drizzt's history, get the Dark Elf Trilogy. It explains everything about him.
Regis is a plump halfling, more used to politics than war. That is why he is so charming. Plus the fact that he has a magical pendant that hypnotizes almost anyone. I wish i had that pendant... Anyway, he is the closest friend and adviser to Bruenor.
Back to the story plot. Ahem. Bruenor already got wind of what was happening although not as large as Frost Giants in league with Orcs so he was doing what every friendly dwarven king does in this sort of situation. Walk around with an army of battle ready dwarves at his back, warning villages and having fun with the Squisher. Or was it the Pulper? Its a mean machine though that's all i can say about it. It squishes stuffs. Anyway, remember the two dwarven friends?Well, they went to this village and stayed there to recuperate. One of them left the other and went the WRONG way in search of Bruenor. Bruenor was already on the way from another direction. Lucky thing something happened and they both met up somewhere... i can't really remember. Anyway, the town was under sieged by then and so the dwarves charge to the rescue. Of course, they were surrounded by then by a thousand orc (title) and Frost Giants lobbing rocks at them. And stuffs happened and Drizzt went out to spy on the enemy. More stuffs happened and when drizzt came back from the spying mission with his skin on, he witnessed what he thought to be the downfall of Bruenor although it wasn't Bruenor who died. Just one of his loyal followers who was wearing his helmet when Bruenor was injured and dying.
And so ends book one of this marvellous trilogy. I give this a full ten out of ten.
at 8:35 PM
Now ain't that touching? I got blammed twice for reviewing truthfully! To each their own opinions eh? lol
Anyway... Today, ladies and gentleman, i shall be reviewing to what would be thebest book in the whole trilogy of His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. The Amber Spyglass.
Ladies and gentleman, if you are a book enthusiast, bored with all your collection of books, then this is the right books for you. For those who aren't book enthusiast but planning to read books, get this trilogy. The Amber Spyglass makes buying the whole set and reading it worth it. In book three, the children, Will and Lyra, fins out their destiny (or was that in book 2? Can't remember...) and also, finds out that in all worlds, there is NO god. No Heaven and Hell, no sin, nothing. Only Angels with one of them claiming to be god. Heaven is just a floating piece of rock covered with clouds. In the war to come, it becomes a war machine. Anyway, the term Dust is a bit confusing. It can't be seen with the naked eye. Plus, from what i read, i think in that story, Dust is god. At least i think so since everything is made of Dust. I can't really exlain to you what the Dust looks like so...
Anyway, in this book, Will and Lyra ventures into the World Of The Dead, more like a prison camp for all dead people, the holy ones, the sinners and the innocent with harpies guarding the place. Will and Lyra will make an agreement with the harpies and in exchange let the souls free to join once again with Dust and their dead daemons. Oh did i mention that once you die in Lyra's world, your daemon disappears? SORRY for not mentioning it before.
Back to the plot. Will and Lyra leads the souls of the dead out from the souls prison camp, guided by a harpy. Will cuts open a portal to the real world to find it ravaged by war between angels and humans lead by Lyra's father. And from there it gets somewhat blurry in my memory so i'm afraid i can't tell you what happens next. All i can say is when the war is over, the story is not yet over.
This book has everything. A very sad ending, one that will make you cry if you really dig this book. I give this book a 10 out of 10. A must read for book enthusiast.
at 8:10 PM
Friday, August 05, 2005
'Whatever you do to the animals, you do to yourself. Remember that.'
Yes, it's another one of my YA books. The way Pai puts it, they're easier to read and understand, and they don't cause headaches, so I don't think I'll be kicking the habit of reading Young Adult anytime soon. I'm still not sure what drove me to buying this book. Possibly, I had just finished His Dark Materials at the time, and was still obsessing over how cool bears were, saw this book, and thought 'OOOOH! BEAR!'. Oh well.
The novel revolves around Cole Matthews, a fifteen year old boy who's been in trouble for a quite a long time. Stealing, fighting, etc. etc. Everything a juvenile delinquent should be. Though there wasn't any mention of rape... oh well, he's fifteen. Give him time.
The latest in Cole's impressive list of juvenile activities is smashing one Peter Driscal's skull into the sidewalk. For this, Cole will have to choose between prison and Native American Circle Justice~ which means choosing either a year behind bars or isolation for a year. Seeing the fact that the dumb people on the Circle Justice council believe that Cole has to be 'healed' spiritually, and the fact that Cole has no intention of spending a year where people get sexually deprived, he picks isolation.
And so he is sent to a remote Alaskan island where he will have no contact whatsoever with the outside world for a year. (The horror! His e-mail account will definitely expire over that much time!) That is, save for the occasional visits by Circle Justice members Garvey and Edwin who check in on him from time to time to drop supplies. Considering himself smarter than the idiots who put him on the island to begin with, Cole begins to plan his escape. Building a raft doesn't work, so he attempts swimming~ which turns out to be a dumb idea. Alaskan waters aren't exactly warm.
Furious that he can't escape, he takes it out on everything else. The shelter that Garvey and Edwin constructed for him, for one, and, well, a bear. Now if you're beginning to think that this bear is going to be the one that will guide him to Cole's spiritual recovery as well as redemption, has the ability to talk, thus spouting words of wisdom every few pages and singing jolly, motivational songs, well, you're only half right. No wait, way off.
The bear sends Cole down his road of redemption, alright. By mauling him. Now how does help, you wonder? Well I'm not spoiling that. The story is basically about what Cole learns over his period of isolation from nature and Inuit philospohy, and how he comes to terms with himself. And you get to see how Cole develops from a bitter person who is angry at the world to a...dying, bitter person who is angry at the world. Okay, I was just kidding.
Overall, this book is a good read. I re-read it a few times, which is more than I can say for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which is now collecting dust on my shelf. And if I say it's worth re-reading, there, it's good.
Which makes me wonder if the juvenile delinquent centers in Malaysia should start working together with Zoo Negara, maybe toss in one juvenile per day into the bear cage and see what happens. It just might work. Though I don't think sending our juveniles to isolated islands can really work. Our waters aren't that cold, and hey, if Indons can swim to shore, I'm sure that fresh, young bodies with minds of serial rapists can do so too. But it does get me wondering about the prison system, though. Native American's 'heal' their guilty rather than punish. What good does punishment really do for anyone save for the fact that the victims get a minor sense of pleasure?
8 out of 10.
at 10:21 AM
Thursday, August 04, 2005
The name of this trilogy is actually quite unofficial. Word is that Garth Nix never really properly named his fantastic series about Death, beyond Death and the ultimate battle between Good and Evil, or the Living and the Living Dead, in this case.
We start the trilogy with the first important character to be introduced, Sabriel. The book starts off with a prologue detailing the circumstances of her birth, a very extraordinary one, I might say. Here, like in East, we see how she was meant to be different, and what lies in her destiny.
Which is to say that yes, she's the titular character for a bloody good reason.
Of course, it wasn't revealed what she will become in that one chapter. But in the next, we'll become more acquainted with the powers that she has inherited. Don't worry if it seemed that it was a sudden introduction to her world. Garth Nix does a commendable job describing what she can do, without being too intricate with the details, unlike a certain fantasy author... (coughtolkiencough)
His skill, of course, means nothing if the world he created was uninteresting. That is, thankfully, not so. Garth Nix has created a rich world, or should I say, worlds? In practicality, the Old Kingdom and Ancelstierre (spelling?) are two very different universes. While one is blooming with magic, the other is devoid of them, much like our world. In fact, Ancelstierre is almost a bit by bit copy of our world, complete with modern day weaponry and electricity! It's amazing how the author can fuse the two elements (that is, modernity and traditional swords and sorcery fantasy) together so seamlessly that they feel right.
Like any good fantasy novels, Sabriel could not possibly be complete without a talking cat. Well, yes, it sounded silly but you'll learn to love and loath (and re-love) Mogget, a cat that's not really a cat. His personality is so like a certain friend of mine that I can't help but to love him!
And the action scenes... ah, yes. Satisfying. Romance seemed a little bit stilted, but that might be because I didn't like Sabriel's love interest enough. They do, however, make a great couple, if not my favorite. And for that, this book deserves an 8 out of 10.
And yes, I'm being really critical. If it weren't for a book club, I'd have said ten out of ten. Go figure.
at 11:00 PM
I can't remember when I got this book. All I know is that my father rented this book from the National Library, gave me a choice whether to read this book or a book with a women drawn on its cover. Needless to say, yours truly took this book and began reading it.
This is a story of a Tommy Hart, a law student turned pilot who became a prisoner of war after his bomber was shot down. Captured by the Germans, he led a routine life until a black flier joined the camp. Lincoln Scott was disliked because of his skin color, and was later accused of killing a very popular figure inside the camp. Scott was ordered to go on trial, like a court marshall. Hart was ordered to defend Scott and in the process revealing the truth on why Trader Vic (the man who holds hatred against Scott) was killed.
My father thought it was about a war like World War I & II, Cold War, and the rest. Well, most of the time, the war's actually took place in a courtroom. For those of you who are John Grisham fans, take note. Honestly I haven't read any of his works so... can't make a direct comparison.
John Katzenbach's rather average usage of words and sentences really transformed this book. It's not as hardcore as Tom Clancy, but it does make things easier to understand. Suspense are aplenty inside this book and the twists are tight. But perhaps the best thing about this book is the feeling that it creates. It stirs up my feeling everytime I read the book, something that other political/military novels fail to create. That, in my opinion, is a plus point.
This is my The Sight. A nine out of ten.
at 7:00 PM
'Stolen' is the sequel to another novel called 'Bitten' written by the same author. Surpassing its predecessor by far, let's ignore 'Bitten' for now and focus on this one. The main character of both books is Elena Michaels, the only female werewolf in the world. Why? Well apparently, you can only become a werewolf by two different ways. One is by inheriting the gene from your parents, and apparently, this method is only available for males. The second is by, as you should know, getting scratched. Except the problem is that getting attacked by a werewolf and surviving with a scratch is damned near impossible, as the book claims. So how did Elena survive? She got scratched by her mate/boyfriend Clayton Danvers while she was at university. Who says werewolves can't be intellectuals?
Now where 'Bitten' was about a battle amongst werewolves themselves, 'Stolen' takes it one notch higher by introducing the fact that werewolves aren't the only supernatural beings in the world, which comes as a shock to Elena since she isn't exactly the most well-informed member of the Pack about affairs regarding other 'monsters'. Apparently, a covert government organization is tracking down and catching werewolves, vampires, shamans, sorcerers and witches to study.
As Elena puts it, yeah, it sounds like a badly written season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer but what makes this book worth the read is the suspense and the characters themselves. As the story is told in a first-person point of view, an insight into Elena's mind and how she looks at things make the book fun to read. The book also has its share of twists and betrayals, which only help strengthen my case when I say that this book is good!
Overall rating: 8 out of 10.
at 4:38 PM
What? Its he truth. I mean, its the first book! Its not the second or third where it really counts! The first books of any trilogies are always a bit lacking since it is the introduction to the whole trilogy right? So anyway, yeah it got a 9 on my watch.
Now for book two. Book two, The Subtle Knife, introduces to us a lot more characters. Say for an example Will. He is a boy, around the same age with Lyra which is 12 by the way. Anyway, his world is not the same as Lyra's as it is set in our own world where you don't see souls eating Frosties and what not. So anyway, the first chapter tells us off Will's life. Currently, he was sneaking back into his own house after dropping off his mother at a neighbours house to get a box of letter from his missing father. There, he found out that two people were already in his house. Okay i myself was confused with this part since the two people, as far as i can remember, played no important role except for the fact that Will ran away and found a portal leading to another world which so happened to be the on where Lyra followed her father into the OTHERWORLD. Of course that doesn't mean there's only two worlds. There's lots more where that came from, lots more!
Anyway, the story continues onwards to how Will met Lyra, how Will received guradianship of THE KNIFE! Its called the Subtle Knife (duh). Its a knife with two edges, one so sharp it can cut trhough anything. The other, so subtle it can rip the reality barrier in two and thus open up a portal to any world. Then the story proceeds onwards to tell us how they got into trouble and used the knife and all that. Oh did i mention Will lost two fingers?
Now the thing i like bout this second book is the characters. Phillip managed to make them.. real. Its got great character build up. You feel what they feel and al that, get my drift? Its awesome. Plus he keeps to a constant storyline and has this way of writing that makes it impossible to put the book down. I'd give it a full ten out of ten. Or in the words of nighteyes, a twelve out of ten.
at 2:48 PM
As a rule, just because a book has been reviewed by someone else, doesn't mean that you can't review it again. Especially if it's something as big as His Dark Materials. C'mon Khairul, you can't POSSIBLY sit happily watching Shahril giving a '9' to the biggest thing of all time! Of course, if you don't do it (rolls up sleeves), I'm going to have to defend Lyra.
at 7:37 AM
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
His Dark Materials IS NOT childish as the title may imply nor is it those horny erotic stuffs. Sure title sounds a bit weird but its one hell of story.
His Dark Materials is a trilogy. First book is called The Northern Lights or Golden Compass. Don't ask me why there are two titles. Anyway this book tells the beginning of a story with Lyra, the main character of this trilogy, and Pantlamoin, her daemon(NOT demon) getting into trouble by being where they were not supposed to be in the first place. Now before i start on this, let me explain a few things. Daemons are peoples souls except that you can see em on the outside. And touch em too. There is a taboo though where no one can touch another daemon except for their own. Plus, no one can go far without their daemon. Its like having your heart tugged. Oh also, daemons have animal forms although before people reach their adolescense, their shapes are not constant meaning shapeshifters. After the children become adults or teenagers, their daemons will stay in a shape that would best describe the person. Now, back to storytelling. I only told the intro so for those who want to read the book and not wish for spoilers, READ NO FURTHER. Just scroll below and see the rating.
Okay, i can't remember the story in detail so i may skip a few parts. I'll try my best. Now this book tells us about how Lyra got into trouble for sneaking into this meeting. Then her uncle found her out and told her to stay put. Then she saw the headmaster pouring poison into her uncle's wine. Obviously she told her uncle. And then after a few moments off talking nice and getting rid of poison and all that, others people pour into the room and onwards to a slide show. Lyra got her first glimpse of Dust (Will be explained later on in the rest of the trilogy) and of a tower hidden in the clouds, an alternate world. And so stuffs happened and whooosh! She was swept away into a gipsy boat and all that, met a witch and a talking bear or panzerbjson or something like that. So from there she did all sort of stuffs, basically getting into trouble. And loads of it. Its a kids thing right? Oh and did i mention that her uncle turned out to be her father? That's a shocker. Anyway, her father managed to rip open a dimension gate using the energy from a severed bond between body and soul. He used Lyra's friend so... Anyway, she followed him into the other dimension and so ends book one. Now i skipped a lot of parts so you have to read it by yourself. I give book one a 9 out of 10.
I shall start reviewing book two later as it is late in the night and my mom glaring at me. I tell if looks could blast a hole in a wall, i would be full of holes as well as the wall in front me and my neighbours house. So goodnight everyone!
at 11:11 PM
Helloooooo everybody! Its a ME! Lol, Nighteyes invited me to do this. I must say it is very interesting. My thanks and regards to him.
Ahem... now onwards to reviewing. Now, this book by David and Leigh Eddings is quite interesting despite the fact that all books by David Eddings seems to be based on Elder gods and Younger gods, a rock which is stronger than a god, an evil elder god wanting it but got beaten to it by the CHOSEN one which happened to be a clueless young man named Belgarion or Garion for short (Note: I DID NOT STEAL HIS NAME) in The Belgariad trilogy and a horny sarcastic CHURCH knight Sparhawk famous for his dry sense of humour, sharp wit, bleak mood and broken nose in another series. But in this case, the Younger Gods are heroes this time instead of people who ultimately become stronger than the gods. Of course, they still have rocky elements to help them save the day against an evil Bug Thing like opals and what not from Mother Sea who has dry humour and Father Earth. It was weird hearing the Gods calling them Mother and Father. Anyway, the Bug Thing. Its not called that of course. Its called THE THING THAT SHOULD NOT BE NAMED. How many evil nemesis of every living thing has that title? A lot..
Anyway, this books storyline was a little rushed but it turned out to be a good read since it involved humour, action and romance if i remember correctly. I'd give it a six... out of ten.
at 4:55 PM
(Warning. MAJOR MAJOR spoilers ahead. Not that I never spoil anything in my reviews, but this time I'm providing spoilers for a book with a fanbase so big that I won't be surprised if I get injured for not putting this warning beforehand)
I still remember how I was first introduced to Harry Potter. I was in Form One, then, and a friend named Adileen lent me the book, saying that it was really good. Being naive as I was back then, I judged the book by its cover, and jumped to the conclusion that the book was 'too childish' for me. I returned it without ever getting past the first chapter. Imagine my surprise then, when my father came home from work a few days later, handing me the very same book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone before he simply said, "Here, read this and let me know what the whole fuss is about." Intrigued, I did as I was told. Back then my dad dictated my reading list, since he was still the one paying for the books. I found the first chapter as boring as I did the first time around, but this time I went just a little bit further, touching the parts where Harry went to Diagon Alley...
And then I was sucked in. Forever destined to be a loyal fan to the series regardless of how much time has passed since then. Upon finishing the first book, I then quickly started demanding Books 2, 3 (which until now remains my favourite), and 4. Book Five I bought on my own when I was in Form Four, and now only recently, I have acquired the sixth book in the series for a whopping RM99.90. Unlike the first four books, I didn't immediately sink into the book upon acquiring it, due to the fact that my friends were over at my house that very night, and I had other matters to attend to. I only really locked on to it the moment I got back here, to KYUEM.
Now, where to begin? Book Six has been receiving a series of mixed reviews from everyone. Some say that it's good, some say that it's not, but what everyone can agree on is that it didn't suck as much as Book Five, which until now remains the only Harry Potter book that I haven't re-read more than ten times. It is good to see that JK Rowling has ditched the whole 'angry teen' phase and started moving on, and her style hasn't deteriorated at all. She's still capable of gluing her readers to her book, keeping them turning pages until the very end. For that, I'm glad. Overall, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (HBP) provides a good read, and wasn't nearly as irritating as Book Five, which was more of a chore to read. But being the second-last book in the series, Rowling still leaves much to be desired, and here's where the complaints start.
A newspaper review that slammed HBP was titled 'Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Plot'. I find myself in a position where I have no choice but to agree with the journalist who wrote the said article. Book Six opens with so much promise, and builds up so much that you feel like you're in Book Two all over again, due to the darker atmosphere. This is of course, a good thing. Chamber of Secrets was damn good. After the disappointment that was Book Five, you'll probably start thinking 'She's back. She's doing her thing again. Yes! RM99.90 well spent!' It is at the final half of the book that you'll start noticing that something's missing. It's as though Rowling got impatient and just wanted to wrap things up quickly so that the cash would just roll in. And so you get an opening that compares to Chamber of Secrets but a closing that almost brought this book down to Order of the Phoenix's standards. Not even Dumbledore's death was as dramatic as it could have been. But then that just could have been me, because to me the guy had a 'I'm going to die' label on him since Book One. That's what you get for being the fatherly, protective figure for the main character. Other examples that fall into this category are Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn (Star Wars), John Thornton (Call of the Wild), Tsinga (The Sight), Prince Verity (The Farseer Trilogy), Gandalf...the Gray (Lord of the Rings), Joyce Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)... and well, others. Lots of others whose names just don't seem to come to mind right now. But you get the idea.
I'm just glad that Lupin's alive ^^.
Book Six also sees the coupling of some characters. Too much coupling, in my opinion, that at some points the book seems more like a fanfic than the actual story. Let's see, Cho's so far off Harry's radar that she's barely mentioned in this story, so now we have (not in chronological order) Harry/Ginny, Ginny/Dean, Lavender Brown/Ron, Hermione/Cormac McLaggen, Lupin/Tonks and Bill/Fleur. See what I mean? I'm just glad that Hermione and Ron haven't confessed their feelings to each other yet. I'm not quite ready to see them stop bickering yet, though personally it was much more fun watching them bicker when the fact that they liked each other wasn't too obvious.
And in the end, after the good opening, there are just one too many loose ends, and ends that were tied up too quickly that they leave much to be desired.
But that aside, overall Book Six was a good read. Looks like Prisoner of Azkaban will remain my favourite for a while longer...
A 7 out of 10. Sad fact is that Rowling missed her chance to score an 11.
at 2:31 PM
God, I've wanted to do this for ages, and now I've finally gotten round to doing it. Here is a book that I almost religiously carry around with me everywhere I go. Not literally, of course, but you get the picture. I am that much in love with it. I read this book at the perfect time, when I had just finished Prisoner of Azkaban, found Werewolf Apocalypse, and when my obsession with wolves led on to a minor case of therianthrope. So yeah, this book added gasoline to the fire, along with 'Blood and Chocolate' with found its way into my arms not too long after. And for a touch of historical value, I'll bet none of you know this~
'The Sight' is the first book that I have ever bought with my own money! All my previous books were daddy-sponsored, but this one looked too much like a children/teenage book to my dad that he refused to fork out even a single penny for it. I don't mind though. I wanted the book enough to pay for myself, and it set me down the dark, dark road of allowing Kinokuniya to drain my allowance.
Personal stuff aside, 'The Sight' is an awesome, awesome book. It revolves around a female wolf, Larka, who has been endowed with the gift of the Sight, a rare ability among wolf-kind. It is at about the time of Larka's birth that the wolf Morgra has taken command of the Balkar (a group of vicious male wolves), and decreed herself as the 'First of Wolves'. Being the power-hungry bitch that she is, Morgra isn't satisfied with just being the ruler of wolves. She wants Larka's power to aid her go much, much further~ to discover the secret of Man and to rule above all Lera (the word used for 'animals'). Larka's family isn't too keen on handing Larka over though. And so the first half of the book narrates the trials and hardships the family has to go through while fleeing Morgra's wolves. Eventually though, Larka realizes that for the safety of all she holds dear, she has to go off on her own and learn to master her power, so that she may challenge Morgra and liberate her kind.
Don't get me wrong though, 'The Sight' isn't set in a fantasy world. It's set very much in our world, and manages to relate to actual historical events, like the activities of Vlad the Impaler for example. But with the social heirarchy, history and politics of the Varg (the word used for 'wolves') constructed so thoroughly, it feels real enough to pull you in and drag you along for one heck of a ride, where everything ties off just nicely enough at the end.
'The Sight' has its fair share of drama and suspense. And it helps that the characters feel very much alive for you to feel for and love. Even the 'evil' characters aren't truly evil, or without motive other than pure world domination like most stereotypical villains. It's about time that the 'Big Bad Wolf' image be thrown away, I think. This books does justice to the often victimized wolves by portraying them as they really are instead of making them bloodthirsty killing machines.
And the cover's pretty. As Nicholas puts it, the way things are, the saying 'You can't judge a book by its cover' is not useable anymore. Bestselling books normally bring in enough cash for the author to hire better artists to make really, really pretty covers. As a result, most of the bestsellers are the ones with pretty covers. His Dark Materials, anyone?
Despite the amount of time that has passed since I've read this thing, it remains solid on my top ten favourite list.
10 out of 10. Possibly 12.
at 2:09 PM
Basically I decided that the book reviews deserve a different place to be put up. And I thought that it would be fun to drag along some friends to contribute as well. This way, we'll know what to dash to the bookstores for and what to avoid like the plague, or more frankly, we'll know what we want to borrow from each other, you cheapskates, you.
at 2:06 PM