Thursday, March 27, 2008

Book Review: The Far Sweet Thing

Well, I didn't enjoy this book as much as Rebel Angels, but I still liked it.

In this third and final installment of the Gemma Doyle triology, Gemma is starting to come into her own as she is forced to deal with all the creates of the Realms since she is now the sole holder of the magic. (Sorry, that was a spoiler.)

There are some things that annoyed me in this book, too. Mainly all the time spent in the Realms and how Gemma was sooooo dumb for sooooo long about her friend Pippa. (I know, this review is useless to anyone who hasn't read the book. Oh well.) Part of the reason why I liked Rebel Angels so much is that most of the book took place in London instead of at Spence Academy, so there was a lot more going on. And there weren't really any surprises left for The Far Sweet Thing as most of those had been resolved in Rebel Angels. so I felt like I was just waiting to see what would happen for most of this book instead of being actively engaged in the story.

Anyhoo, that's all I have to say. Not a bad trilogy.

Book Review: Rebel Angels

(Hey! I'm back! Once I finished with that pesky Moot Court stuff I had time to read again!)

I read the prequel to this book, A Great and Terrible Beauty, over a year ago, and I bought this one not long after. But I wasn’t really crazy about the first book so I put off reading this one until just a few weeks ago. I was rather surprised to discover that I liked this one much more!

These books center around the life of sixteen (then later seventeen) year old Gemma Doyle around 1895. Gemma grew up in India with her British parents, but after her mother died a mysterious death she and her family moved back to England and Gemma was enrolled in Spence Academy for Young Girls. It is at Spence that Gemma starts having mysterious visions and learns about a group of women sorceresses called The Order. The background information is all set up in the first book, so maybe that’s why I felt it was dry. By the second book Bray was really able to delve into the secrets of The Order and The Realms (a magical world that only members of The Order are able to access).

There are a lot of things about Gemma that annoyed me at first--mainly that she has an uncanny ability to trust the wrong people. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that is probably very true to life. A young girl without a mother who suddenly finds herself possessing magical powers and being hailed as the next High Priestess would probably be a little confused. Moreover, she is so young and faces so many tough choices and responsibilities that she was probably overwhelmed!

By the way, I should mention that these are YA (young adult) books, but I don’t really care. I AM STILL YOUNG ENOUGH TO READ YA WITHOUT SHAME, DAMN IT.

Anyway, if you like books that have magic and stuff you might like this series.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Booking Through Thursday - Hero

You should have seen this one coming … Who is your favorite Male lead character?

Well, I can say that I don't have any favorites. I rarely read books with male lead characters--sorry. I finished reading His Dark Materials and I enjoyed Will's character more than Lyra. His maturity level and common sense kept me interested in the book. If he wasn't introduced in book two I most likely would have stopped reading since I began to find the story dull.

I enjoyed reading Harry Potter and watching his character develop over the years. I remember struggling with his character development at times, thinking he was too selfish or overconfident, and realizing that it bothered me. I think it was the first time I had been so involved with a character, like a friend, that I was concerned.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (1891)

First, check out the painting that was on the cover of my book. It alone caused me to want to read this book. She looks so sad. The painting, by Francis Danby, is called "Disappointed Love". I find it haunting.

I will admit that I am a thief. I have had a high school copy of this book since 9th grade Honors English. I can remember glancing at the book thinking it looks too hard to read. It's not. In fact I loved it. I'm actually surprised since I usually don't enjoy fiction, let alone classical fiction. Tess is hands down the most depressing character I have ever met in a book. Nothing goes well for Tess. She was deceived by a man at an early age and works so hard to bring herself out of poverty and despair, but soon finds herself back in it. I hated Angel Care, Tess's husband. I hated that he could have premarital sex and yet not forgive Tess for being raped as a teenager. Stupid men. I also despised him when he asked another woman to run away with him after not being able to forgive Tess. This was while still being married to Tess. Even though he doesn't go through with it he still is scum in my mind. Her rapist, Alec, also is a piece of work. A lot happens in this book and I don't want to ruin the ending for future readers **AHEM, LINDSEY AHEM**.
This is not a happy novel. It is the kind of book which makes you reflect upon humanity and a woman's role in society. It also reminds one to be grateful for what they have.

Kim's Grade: A

Monday, March 03, 2008

Almanac of the Dead update

Remember when I spoke about my reading goal for the year? Well, a correction is needed. The book is only 762 pages, not over a 1000 pages long. This surprised me because I've been able to speed through other lengthy books like Anna Karenina and the Harry Potter series. But this book takes forever.

First let me describe the layout of the book. There are six parts with a total of 19 books within the parts.
The first part takes place in the United States. We are in Tucson at Zeta's house where we meet several key(?) characters. Ferro is the son Lecha abandoned and Zeta claimed. He is obsessed with guns. Paulie is the attack dog caretaker and an ex-con. Lecha is addicted to Demerol, codeine and is a well-known psychic, dying of cancer.
Sterling, the gardener, left his rez and accidentally goes to Tucson. He subscribes to Police Gazette and True Detective magazines. He mentions the story of loss of the Stone Idols and the "finding" of them later in a museum. This loss has been difficult for his reservation. "Found" artifacts have always been an interesting argument of ownership. Should the artifacts be returned to the original owners? Or should they be kept on display? How can you even argue ownership? The dispute over how artifacts are given, sold, stolen, etc alone is questionable.
Lecha was returning to Tucson to get things in order before her death. She hired Seese to aid her in transcribing her old notebooks into a word processor and to act as a nurse if anyone should question the drugs or injections. Seese is a recovering(?) coke addict who takes the job because she wants Lecha (the psychic) to find her baby.

Sounds like a classic episode of Maury Povich if you ask me.

I have a feeling this one sentence has set up the rest of the novel, "Nothing happens by accident here". We shall certainly see!