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

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Can’t Smurf Progress by Peyo

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Title: Can’t Smurf Progress by Peyo

Notable: Book #23 in The Smurfs Graphic Novels series

Premise:

While Papa Smurf is away, the Smurfs build mechanical servants to help with their work and to wait on them.  The Smurfs become lazy and entitled, while their servants do all the work without complaint.  Through a freak accident, one of the mechs gains consciousness and leads a revolution to break free of the Smurfs’ rule.

My thoughts:

The premise of this book was really inventive.  It’s pretty funny to see wooden tree stump servants gadding about, holding trays of food.  Not really what you picture when you think artificial intelligence.  It totally fits the smurf style, though.

This story makes you think about the way we’ve become lazy today and expect other people or devices to do for us what we could and sometimes should be doing for ourselves.  It also has something to say about the way that we should treat people who we have power over.  In the story the Smurfs have servants who would be classified as slaves if they were sentient beings, but the same principles could apply to a maid, butler, waiter or waitress, cashier, etc.  We should always treat people with kindness and respect, and be reasonable in our expectations of them.  In the end the mechs are destroyed and the Smurfs decide they’re better off doing their own honest work instead of relying on servants.

I recommend Can’t Smurf Progress to fans of the Smurfs.  I really enjoyed it!

Possible Objections:

  • One of the Smurfs tries to sneak a peek at Smurfette as she’s showering outside

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori