Lost Truth by Dawn Cook

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Title: Lost Truth by Dawn Cook

Notable: Book #4 in the Truth series

Premise:

This fantasy dragon adventure finally wraps up with Alissa, Strell, Lodesh and Connen-Neute going on a journey to find some long-lost comrades.  Alissa and her true love are finally united, though that means one young man is left seriously disappointed.

My thoughts:

After enjoying the previous book so much, this one was a bit of a letdown.  The action was interesting, with several new characters being introduced (which was a welcome relief) and a completely new setting.  Meeting Keribdis brought the story full-circle and it allowed Talo-Toecan to face the foibles of his past which had wreaked so much havoc.

The resolution to Alissa’s love triangle fiasco was sadly disappointing to me.  I didn’t care much for her choice (I tend to root for the underdog), and it didn’t really seem to matter much anymore.  In the previous book her relationship with this particular character had been neglected so much that I pretty much lost interest in it altogether.  There wasn’t enough in this volume to convince me that she was really committed to the relationship.  The other character she had been attached to is basically discarded at the end of the story and that really rankled me.  Oh well.  I’ll get over it.

I recommend Lost Truth to fans of fantasy, dragons and female heroines!


Possible Objections:

  • A bit of violence

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Forgotten Truth by Dawn Cook

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Title: Forgotten Truth by Dawn Cook

Notable: Book #3 in the Truth series

Premise:

Alissa continues to train with Talo-Toecan, but when she practices a new skill it accidentally sends her back in time.  She’s still in the environs of the Hold, but ends us 400 years in the past, when Lodesh was just a young man.  Alissa tries to find her way back to Strell and her own time, but her feelings for Lodesh become much more complicated.

My thoughts:

This is my favorite book in the series so far.  There’s a richness to the Hold and Ese’ Nawoer of the past that is completely missing in the previous two books (probably because they’re unpopulated, no?).  The characters of Connen-Neute and Lodesh were a real pleasure to see developed, and there were several strong supporting characters, as well.

I don’t know what is going to happen with Alissa’s love life, but it seems like she might have three possible suitors now.  I’m rooting for Connen-Neute, though in truth, I don’t even know if he’s a real contender.  Strell was missing for most of this book and the few scenes he was in weren’t very compelling.  I found myself losing my attachment to his character–eek!  Lodesh likewise has lost some of his shine, based on some underhanded dealings on his part.

I didn’t care too much for the end of this book.  The men all seem totally defeated or amazingly oblivious, while Alissa lords it over them and won’t let go of one of them.  That young lady is being awfully selfish!  We’ll see where this story goes in the next volume…

I recommend Forgotten Truth to fans of fantasy and dragons!


Possible Objections:

  • A bit of violence
  • A tiny bit of language

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Hidden Truth by Dawn Cook

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Title: Hidden Truth by Dawn Cook

Notable: Book #2 in the Truth series

Premise:

The story continues with Strell being trained by Bailic as a Keeper, and Alissa trying not to blow her cover.  Alissa accidentally wakes the city of Ese’ Nowoer and the magnetic Lodesh enters the scene as a rival love interest.  Useless continues to covertly tutor Alissa, and eventually Alissa undergoes a significant change.

My thoughts:

I zipped through this book, just like the previous one.  Even though the writing isn’t stellar, it’s rich in detail and kept me interested and wanting to find out what would happen next.  For those of you who can’t stand a slower paced book, I think this one would test your patience.  As I was progressing through the story and taking notes, I realized that there wasn’t a whole lot that was really happening.

There’s a lot of relationship intrigue and drama, people getting upset over seemingly unimportant things, waiting and/or skulking around.  There are a few action-packed scenes, but they’re not the norm for most of the book.  Personally, that didn’t bother me.

The characters in this book are probably what keeps me really interested.  Alissa is fairly petty/dramatic in her emotions, but not a stranger to admitting the error of her ways.  Strell seems to have taken a lesser role, serving more as a supporting character than in the first book, and Lodesh is quite intriguing.  I can’t wait to see what his role is in the next book.

Towards the end of the story, there’s a significant development for Alissa, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.  All I’ll say is that it’s pretty cool.

I recommend Hidden Truth to fans of fantasy who like to see an empowered female protagonist.


Possible Objections:

  • A bit of violence
  • A tiny bit of language

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

First Truth by Dawn Cook

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Title: First Truth by Dawn Cook

Notable: Book #1 in the Truth series

Premise:

When the magical abilities of a young woman named Alissa awaken, she must travel to the Hold where she can be trained.  Along the way, she meets a young man named Strell and the two are drawn into intrigue and adventure as Alissa begins to discover her latent magical abilities.

My thoughts:

I wasn’t expecting a lot from this book, probably because the last fantasy novel I read wasn’t exactly my favorite.  The author did a really nice job of creating interesting and believable characters, as well as telling a cohesive story rich in detail.  Oh, how I appreciate a fantasy story that makes sense right now!

Alissa and Strell are a bit petty in some scenes, but then again that could be chalked up to young people emotions.  I was plenty petty and ridiculous in my emotions as a young adult at times.  The magic in this story is interesting — more of an internal force than simply saying the right incantations.  I look forward to seeing how the magical abilities are developed, since we only get small glimpses of what is possible.

For those of you who enjoy seeing a strong female character take the lead in a fantasy story, you’ll probably get a kick out of this one.  I have the next two books on standby on my bookshelf, and I can’t wait to get started on them!

I recommend First Truth to fans of fantasy who like to see an empowered female protagonist.


Possible Objections:

  • A bit of violence

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken by Terrance Dicks

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Title: Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken by Terrance Dicks

Notable: Book #37 in the Doctor Who Library series

Premise:

The Doctor and his current companion, a boy named Adric, are summoned to the planet of Traken.  Traken’s Keeper, who is about to die, needs the Doctor’s help to root out an evil which has established itself on their usually peaceful planet.  Once they arrive on Traken, the Doctor realizes that this is no mere grouchy-pants alien he’s dealing with — it’s a foe he’s met many times before.

My thoughts:

I’m not reading the books in this series in order, but honestly I don’t think it matters too much.  Each Doctor Who episode/story generally does quite well as a stand-alone story.  The previous Doctor Who novel I read was also by Terrance Dicks, and his writing was great in this novel, as in the previous one.

One of the things that I love about these books is that I can see the action taking place in my head.  It’s just like a Doctor Who episode, full of dialogue, interesting characters and lots of action.  This book features the fourth Doctor — floppy hat, long scarf and all.  He is accompanied by Adric, a previous inhabitant of E-space, and meets young lady named Nyssa in this story.  I know that the story is based on an actual TV episode, but sadly I didn’t grow up watching Doctor Who, so it has no nostalgic value to me.

Now, this particular story line is interesting.  It introduces us to a society in which one individual takes on the task of “keeping” the rest of society safe.  The Keeper feels all of the emotions that are not conducive to a peaceful society, as well as being a wise leader and maintainer of order.  One of the Doctor’s greatest enemies decides to take advantage of this amazing power and is very nearly successful in enslaving an entire planet.  I don’t want to give you all the details, but it was a rollicking good adventure.

I recommend Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken to Doctor Who fans everywhere.  Read it so that you can be thorough in your obsession with all things Doctor Who.  😉


Possible Objections:

  • A bit of violence

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Arcady by Michael Williams

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Title: Arcady by Michael Williams

Notable: Book #1 in the Arcady series

Premise:

Solomon’s childhood home of Arcady is threatened by a destructive and mysterious force known as the Absence.  Though Solomon’s education at the Seminary has caused him to become jaded and cynical toward Magic and religion, he yet has a role to play in the salvation of his homeland.

My thoughts:

This is one of the weirdest books I’ve ever read.  For the first 2/3 to 3/4 of the book, I was pretty much lost.  There were slight connections between events and characters, but not enough to make it seem like a cohesive story.  Not until I was past the halfway mark did the different parts of the story come together and it started to make sense.

I say started, because the narrative never truly came together into a completely understandable story.  This book is absolutely full of half-formed ideas and images — magic, ethereal and difficult to fully grasp.  The characters are strange too, mysterious without adequate explanation of how they came to be that way.  That’s not really my cup of tea, but I muscled my way through the foggy and indistinct imagery and concepts because I don’t like to quit books unless they’re truly awful.

There’s a certain satisfaction to the end of the story.  The baddy is thwarted at least partially, things that were lost can now be rebuilt, the Hawken family isn’t at odds with itself anymore.  Apparently there’s a sequel to this book, but I don’t know if I’ll read it.  It was really tough getting through this one and I don’t feel ready to tackle another tedious read right now.

I recommend Arcady to those who like high fantasy that explores religious themes and imagery.

Possible Objections:

  • A little bit of bad language

Rating: 2 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Micro by Michael Crichton & Richard Preston

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Title: Micro by Michael Crichton & Richard Preston

Premise:

A group of graduate students is caught up in a web of intrigue, with Vin Drake and his microbiology company, Nanigen, at its center.  The students find themselves alone in dangerous wilderness and they have to use all of their scientific training and knowledge to try and survive.

My thoughts:

The first thing you need to know is that I LOVE me some good Crichton!  I read my first Crichton books in middle school when I found Terminal Man and Andromeda Strain on the school’s bookshelf.  So when I found this book at the thrift store, I was very excited to read a new book by this beloved author.

Honestly, I still haven’t arrived at a decisive conclusion about whether or not I truly like Micro.  The story is definitely Crichton in concept, but the writing doesn’t always match his style.  Obviously this book had input from Richard Preston, and I think that’s probably where it fails in stacking up to Crichton’s other works.  Crichton had a precision in his writing which is missing in parts of this book.  My other criticism is that the characters tended to get preachy about nature at very odd times.  Who would launch into a speech about the superiority of nature when they’re trekking through jungle on a very tight timeline to save their lives?  Well, apparently these people would.

Even though I wasn’t blown away by the writing, the premise of the story was great.  It brings up some questions about technology and the ethics of how we use it, as well as exploring the tiny world all around us.  When you shrink people down so that the ground becomes a jungle, all of the creepy crawlies get a whole lot scarier.

I recommend Micro to Crichton fans.  You’ll want to read it to round out your knowledge of all of his works, but it probably won’t be your favorite.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence & gore
  • 1 sexual encounter
  • Profanity

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Circle of Light #1: Greyfax Grimwald by Niel Hancock

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Title: Circle of Light 1: Greyfax Grimwald by Niel Hancock

Notable: Book #1 in the Circle of Light series

Premise:

Dwarf, Bear and Otter cross over Calix Stay, the river which separates the World Before Time from Atlanton Earth.  Though initially unsure of the purpose of their quest, they meet some wizards and a few trustworthy humans who help keep them safe and guide them along their journey.  The three unassuming friends have a pivotal role to play in the fight against the Dark Queen, who seeks to gain control over all the earth.

My thoughts:

We’re going really retro here!  This is one of the books that came in my Books by the Foot sci-fi/fantasy box. It started out on shaky footing from the start, when it stated on the cover, “Beginning a great new saga for all who love THE LORD OF THE RINGS!”  The author was just setting himself up for some unflattering comparisons and critiques.  If the cover hadn’t mentioned The Lord of the Rings, I would have read this with a completely open mind.  As it was, I was too busy trying to compare the two.

Circle of Light is not even in the same league as The Lord of the Rings,  It’s like saying that Palmers and Ghiradelli chocolates taste the same.  Anyone with a modicum of good taste can tell the difference.  In addition to that, many elements of the story seem like a direct rip-off of The Lord of the Rings.  But let’s lay those issues aside and simply talk about the merits of this story.

The plot isn’t bad.  There are a few scenes which have the potential to be interesting and epic.  Unfortunately, the writing is such that even major battles come across as mundane and boring.  FYI–the story ends without any resolution, so you’ll have to read the next in the series to get to a satisfying stopping point.

I like the choice of animals as main characters.  Bear and Otter are probably the two most endearing characters.  Dwarf, the other main character, is a bit of an enigma.  He seems a bit off, as if there are two warring personalities at work within him.  If a character is going to exhibit behavior at both ends of the spectrum, there should be a good reason for it.  Please author, what is the character’s motivation for acting the way he does??  Let me bring up another issue–character names.  Holy cow, this story is chock full of names–multiple names for many characters.  It got to be very confusing and didn’t add to the story at all.

Overall, I was not impressed with this book.  The writing style and execution were subpar, the characters uninteresting, and the events rather boring.  If you’re young and just want a so-so fantasy adventure to read, you might not mind Greyfax Grimwald.  If you have a more sophisticated palate when it comes to your fantasy novels, I’d say skip it.

Possible Objections:

  • Some violence
  • The a-word is used a few times (as in someone is being a dunce)

Rating: 2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Doctor Who and the Day of the Daleks by Terrance Dicks

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Title: Doctor Who and the Day of the Daleks (#1) by Terrance Dicks

Premise:

The Doctor and Jo Grant find themselves caught up in an assassination attempt when men from the future come back in time to kill Sir Reginald Styles.  The earth’s future is destined for domination and ruination by the Daleks, and the guerrilla group hopes to stop that from every happening.  Can The Doctor set earth back on its proper course of history before it’s too late?

My thoughts:

I found this book and most of the rest of my Doctor Who collection one day while browsing at Goodwill.  Apparently somebody had offloaded a whole Doctor Who collection at the thrift store.  I was over the moon!  There were several of these early Doctor who novelizations, but I just now got to reading one of them.  So many books, so little time…

Now, let’s be real here.  Anything featuring Doctor Who automatically has a soft spot in my heart.  That doesn’t mean that I would read drivel if it had The Doctor’s name on it, but it does give me warm fuzzies just seeing his name.  When I picked up this book I thought that it might be one of those sloppily produced fan fiction books.  I was very pleasantly surprised, however, to discover that the story was very well written.  It’s not that the plot is amazingly complex (it follows the typical action sequence of a Doctor Who episode), but the writing itself was really well executed.  That was refreshing and gratifying.  Thank you, Mr. Dicks, for your writing talents.

This story features a dystopian future earth, which is always a fun concept to explore.  In this case, it is the Daleks who have taken advantage of the earth’s misfortunes and exploited it for its resources.  Their flunkies, the Ogrons, are an impressive, if intellectually uninteresting species.  They’re the ultimate henchmen, really.

There is one issue with the book, which I could probably figure out if I did some research on the evolution of the Doctor Who story.  In the beginning of the book it is stated that The Doctor stole the Tardis from the Time Lords because he was no longer content to sit around and watch injustice played out across the galaxy.  Apparently when this book was written the story was that the Time Lords were still alive and that The Doctor was a sort of renegade Time Lord.  We know that later in the series the story changes to the annihilation of the Time Lords in the Time Wars with the Daleks.  In that version The Doctor is an unwitting survivor who no longer has a home or people to call his own.  That’s quite a difference in story and I’ll have to figure out when it changed, but right now I need to go take a shower.  😉

Update: I have since figured out the explanation for the change in story and it all worked itself out.  🙂

I recommend Doctor Who and the Day of the Daleks to all of you Doctor Who fans out there.  If you’re a fan, I’d say that these classic novelizations are a must-read.  If you’re not a fan, you probably won’t see the merit in this book.


Possible Objections:

  • Some violence

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Empyrion: The Search for Fierra by Stephen R. Lawhead

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Empyrion: The Search for Fierra is a book which my husband recommended.  It’s an older book, but one he enjoyed as a young man.  Now it’s my turn to enjoy it!

Premise:

Orion Treet is hired to take part in a mission to check on the status of a space colony which has been established by a private company.  Three others are a part of the team and they successfully locate the colony on a far distant planet, but something has gone horribly wrong.  Not only have they arrived in the wrong time period, but they’ve also stumbled into a dystopia.  Their reception is less than ideal, and they must find a way to escape and find the Fieri, the other group of human descendants.  Can they find the answers to what went wrong and make things right again?

My thoughts:

I liked this book a lot more than I expected to.  It’s a unique story about how a human society develops, removed from the influences of Earth.  The setting is interesting and the supporting characters are unique, if a bit odd at times.  Yarden, Treet’s love interest, is definitely an enigma.  The end of the book segues into the next, when Treet continues his mission to keep Fierra safe.  I left out a lot of details, but I didn’t want to totally ruin the story for you.  It’s more fun to discover Empyrion for yourself.  🙂

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, but it will probably have to wait a little while.  We’re scheduled to move in a few days and I don’t want to tote library books along with us!

I recommend this book to teen and adult fans of science fiction.  It’s a unique and entertaining adventure story, which I think you’ll really enjoy.

Favorite quotes:

“Treet had to admit that he did indeed like living; it was, after all, one of the things that made life so worthwhile.” (p.2)

“To be alive and know you were dying and know too there was nothing you could do about it, thought Treet in one of his lucid moments, was surely the worst trick of a whole universe full of lousy tricks.” (p.343)

Possible Objections:

  • A little violence
  • A bit of bad language
  • Religious commentary (There is a distinct good vs. evil undertone to the book, which can easily be ascribed a Christian influence.)

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

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The Mists of Avalon is the last book from my Thrift Store Fantasy Reading Challenge.  Woohoo–I’m done!  I think that I had read one other King Arthur tale sometime in the dim past, but I didn’t remember too much about it.  So with this book, I felt like I was learning most of the tale for the first time.

Premise:

This book tells the King Arthur saga from the vantage point of the women who were involved in the story.  A very welcome and interesting perspective!  It starts with Viviane (The Lady), Merlin, Uther, and Igraine.  From there the story continues through the next two generations–to Gwydion, Galahad, etc.  It’s not only a story about King Arthur and his court, but about Druids and Christians vying for dominance in Britain.  There is so much that happens in this 800+ page book that I couldn’t comment on all of it even if I wanted to.  (And trust me, I do not want to.)

My thoughts:

I’m not going to lie to you, this is a tough book to read.  Between the somewhat slow start, the sometimes relaxed pace of the narrative, the formal language, and the sheer volume of pages, it is a challenge to get through.  I’d say that definitely once you’re about a third of the way in, you’re going to be so caught up in the drama, intrigue and soap opera-esqueness of the book that you’ll want to keep going.  You will feel like it’s never going to end, though.  There’s just no getting past that.

I loved the plot.  It was very complex and even though I new the gist of the story, I was still gobbling it up to see what would happen next.  The cast of characters was also superb.  There were so many–all with different personalities, loyalties, motivation.  You’re bound to find at least a couple of characters whom you can identify with.  Personally, I loved Morgaine (despite her many mistakes and imperfections), and despised Gwenhwyfar.  And there were no clear-cut lines between Druid and Christian.  Each side had its share of heroes, heretics, bigots and pigheadedness.

You should also know that the discussion of religion plays a very large part in this book.  It’s a book about people, yes, but it’s also just as much about religion.  The beliefs of Christians and Druids are compared, criticized, dissected, scoffed at.  If you’re easily offended by religious criticisms or don’t want to read about religion, then this is not the book for you.  In the end, I think the author arrives at a fair and equitable conclusion on the issue of religion as it relates to the King Arthur story.

The Mists of Avalon is a story full of the things of life–love, lust, hatred, tragedy, pride, ambition, heartbreak, sacrifice, birth and death, good and evil.  It’s a story that anybody can relate to because life’s most important concerns don’t change over time.

I would recommend this book to adults because of the pervasive sexual themes.

Possible Objections:

  • A lot of sexual scenes
  • Some violence
  • Talk & criticism of religion (Druid & Christian)

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind

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Wizard’s First Rule is the second to last book from my Thrift Store Fantasy Reading Challenge.  Almost done!  I had never heard of this book, nor the author, Terry Goodkind.  It can be a little intimidating starting a thick book with no clue about whether or not it will be a good one.

Wizard’s First Rule is an epic fantasy adventure story in which Richard (the Seeker) has to defeat the evil Darken Rahl.  He is aided by a beautiful but powerful woman, a wizard, and a few others.  The majority of the story is taken up by their journey to find a magical object which must be hidden from Rahl, and by the many scrapes they find themselves in.

I am still conflicted about this book. Was it good? Was it bad? Did it mess with my brain? Probably so. There are parts of it that I really like and parts of it that made my stomach churn.

The frequent graphic violence (including sexual violence), is just so overwhelming. If that had been watered down dramatically, I think I might have liked the novel more. Of course the writing isn’t stellar, but it’s hard to fairly assess anything else in the book when all you can think about is a dominatrix, a pedophile, and people’s heads cracking open like melons.

What I liked:

  • I liked the variety and different types of characters.  It seems like there was a lot of thought and imagination that went into the diverse inhabitants of this fantasy world.  You get to see people who are pure and people who are quite diabolical.
  • I liked that they were going on an epic adventure and that their journey took many detours (it reminded me of The Lord of the Rings quest).
  • The beginning and end of the book.  The last third of the book, in particular, really picks up in plot twists and complexity.  Even though there were parts of this book that I didn’t like, I will probably read the next in the series because the end of the book was an interesting segue into the next.

What I didn’t like:

  • The main characters seemed almost bipolar at times, going from saying they would protect someone with their life one minute to holding a sword against that person’s throat the next.  Real people don’t act that way, but hey, maybe they were under extreme stress?
  • I felt like the book could have been shortened by not repeating phrases over and over.
  • One of the characters seems to me to be almost a rip-off of the Gollum character from Lord of the Rings.
  • I understand that terrible things happen in war, but personally I was very uncomfortable with how candid the author was about things like sexual exploitation and gory violence.
  • The middle of the book was more difficult to get through–I had to force myself to keep reading.  It seemed like it was lacking any urgency in keeping the story going.

So, there you have it–my mixed feelings on this book.  I feel like there are definitely people out there who would really dislike this book because of some of the intense subject matter.  If you’re uncomfortable with the occult, gory violence, or sexual themes, I would recommend you skip this one.

Possible Objections:

  • A lot of violence & gore
  • Not very subtle references to sexual violence against women & children
  • Sexual themes, including S&M and references to anatomy
  • 2 instances of the b-word
  • Occult themes

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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The Quick by Lauren Owen

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The Quick is the third book that I’ve read from my Thrift Store Fantasy Reading Challenge.  I was actually quite looking forward to reading this one because it involved old London and vampires.  I seem to have a hang-up on those two things.  Also, the cover of this book is really appealing.  I know that’s a silly reason to like a book, but there you have it.  I’m a silly person.

Generally, this book is about a young man (James) who goes to London to try his hand at writing and subsequently disappears.  His sister (Charlotte) becomes concerned and goes in search of him.  She discovers that there is a hidden underground vampire world in London which her brother has become entangled in.  The rest of the story is taken up by her trying to locate, free, and aid her brother.

There are many side characters who come in at various parts of the book.  For some of them we are given extensive or at least some background information.  Others simply appear and disappear without the reader really knowing who they are.  This was somewhat mystifying because some of the characters who are given extensive back story (Mould, in particular), don’t feature all that prominently in the remainder of the story, or their back story seems a bit irrelevant.  There are some characters who were intriguing and whose stories may have been very interesting, if the author had bothered to share them at all.  In particular, I would have liked to have known more about Burke, Liza, and the others associated with Mrs. Price.

The last part of the book was very disappointing, in my opinion.  It seems like it was a lame attempt at tying up the loose ends of Charlotte and Arthur’s lives.  There was no resolution, no satisfaction, not enough follow up with many of the characters, and no clear answer about what happened to James.  I was pretty upset with the way it ended.  It felt like a waste of time to read a book which had such a lame ending.

Don’t get me wrong, the book has its strengths.  It is well written and flows fairly well within each scene.  (Though the way it jumps around between different characters and time periods is very disorienting.)  I liked the majority of the characters and their complexity.  I liked the diversity in settings and circumstances.  However, those things weren’t enough to overcome the sense I got that this was a wasted story.  When you spend the whole book waiting for some kind of resolution or closure to the problem, and that doesn’t come to fruition, it’s disappointing.

Maybe others wouldn’t be as hung-up about this issue as I am.  It’s hard to say.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence & gore
  • Some bad language
  • Mild sexual scene between two men

Rating: 2 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

The Glass Dragon by Irene Radford

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Reading The Glass Dragon has brought me back to my Thrift Store Fantasy Reading Challenge.  It will be good to pick up with this challenge because I really enjoy fantasy books.  This book is part of a trilogy, though I only have the first book.  I’m not sure if I’ll purposely seek out the next two, or wait around until I spot them secondhand.

I enjoyed this book and finished it in a couple of days.  The action was able to keep me interested and flipping pages.  The gist of the story is that there is a kingdom whose power is tied to dragons.  The kingdom, however, is waning in power because people have come to view dragons with suspicion and hate them, even going so far as to kill them.  A man who wants to seize power for himself takes advantage of this situation and endeavors to set himself up to take over as ruler.

There are three main characters who help fight the forces of evil–a rogue magician, a man-wolf, and a witchwoman.  They embark on a quest to save the last female dragon in the realm, and along the way they discover the power they are capable of wielding.

There is some kind of strange, unexplained sexual link between the three characters.  I didn’t quite grasp what the author was getting at (for which I am thankful).  Once that little facet of the story emerged, things started to get a bit awkward.

I think the thing I like most about this book is the creativity used in making up this enchanted world.  The reader gets descriptions of its customs, animals, geography, and more.  Its complexity reminds me of The Lord of the Rings, but not nearly as detailed.

I would recommend this book for older teens and up because of the sexual themes.

Possible Objections:

  • Some sexual scenes
  • A bit of violence

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

HP Cursed Child - WM

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While picking up some books at the library the other day, I spotted Harry Potter and the Cursed Child sitting on the counter with the new items.  I’m a big Harry Potter fan and have seen this book all over the place, but had never purposely sought it out.  How could I pass it over when it was sitting right there in front of me?  I couldn’t.

The first thing you should know is that this book is written in play format.  You have to pay careful attention to who is speaking, and the story line moves more quickly with fewer extraneous details than in the novels.  If you’re looking for a book that exactly matches the previous Harry Potter novels, you will be disappointed.  This is something completely different.

This story is set nineteen years in the future from where we left off with Harry, Hermione, Ron, and the rest of the crew.  Harry and Ginny are now married, with kids.  Ron and Hermione are also married, with a child.  Even Draco has married and had a son.

It picks up with their children entering into their Hogwarts education and follows them through to their mid-teen years.  Albus (Harry’s son) and Scorpius (Draco’s son) have a hard time fitting in and become good friends.  However, Harry is distrustful of Scorpius and tries to thwart their friendship.  This is on top of Harry’s already strained relationship with Albus.  In an ill-advised plan, Albus tries to right a wrong from Harry’s past, while simultaneously trying to win his father’s approval.  Things go haywire and the whole cast has to come together to set things right before evil is again let loose on the wizarding world.  I could give you more details, but I don’t want to wreck the story for you.  😉

I enjoyed seeing the old characters in new adult roles.  They all show some imperfect tendencies and prejudices, and uncertainty in their new role as parents.  I like that this book takes a much deeper look at human nature than you generally get in the older Harry Potter novels.  This is a grown up world now, where adults make mistakes and people are more complex.  There is less of a line drawn between good and evil, and more emphasis on common priorities in life and how they can draw people together.

If you were a Harry Potter fan in your youth, you will appreciate the grown up complexity of this book.  You get to see your favorite characters again, but in the challenging world of adulthood.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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