Monday, February 15, 2010

Review of The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett

The sun is setting on humanity. The night now belongs to voracious demons that arise as the sun sets, preying upon a dwindling population forced to cower behind ancient and half-forgotten symbols of power. These wards alone can keep the demons at bay, but legends tell of a Deliverer: a general—some would say prophet—who once bound all mankind into a single force that defeated the demons. Those times, if they ever existed, are long past. The demons are back, and the return of the Deliverer is just another myth . . . or is it?
Out of the desert rides Ahmann Jardir, who has forged the warlike desert tribes of Krasia into a demon-killing army. He has proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer, and he carries ancient weapons—a spear and a crown—that give credence to his claim. Sworn to follow the path of the first Deliverer, he has come north to bring the scattered city-states of the green lands together in a war against demonkind—whether they like it or not.
    But the northerners claim their own Deliverer. His name was Arlen, but all know him now as the Warded Man: a dark, forbidding figure whose skin is tattooed with wards so powerful they make him a match for any demon. The Warded Man denies that he is the Deliverer, but his actions speak louder than words, for he teaches men and women to face their fears and stand fast against the creatures that have tormented them for centuries.

Once the Shar’Dama Ka and the Warded Man were friends, brothers in arms. Now they are fierce adversaries. Caught between them are Renna, a young woman pushed to the edge of human endurance; Leesha, a proud and beautiful healer whose skill in warding surpasses that of the Warded Man himself; and Rojer, a traveling fiddler whose uncanny music can soothe the demons—or stir them into such frenzy that they attack one another.  

    Yet as old allegiances are tested and fresh alliances forged, all are blissfully unaware of the appearance of a new breed of demon, more intelligent—and deadly—than any that have come before.
Peter Brett has done it once again. I think someone else pointed out in their review that there is only so long you can prolong the inevitable end of a book. Going back and rereading chapters just to be sure you did not miss anything. I managed to stretch this one out for about a month. I was blown away with The Warded Man and am almost speechless with The Desert Spear... Almost. The last sentence of the book hit me like a brick in the face! Thinking about the story after I was finished I should have seen it coming but I did not. The possibilities for The Daylight War are going to drive me up a wall (hopefully a well warded one) till it is in my hands!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Review of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold


When we first meet 14-year-old Susie Salmon, she is already in Heaven. This was before milk carton photos and public service announcements, she tells us; back in 1973, when Susie mysteriously disappeared, people still believed these things didn't happen. In the sweet, untroubled voice of a precocious teenage girl, Susie relates the awful events of her death and her own adjustment to the strange new place she finds herself. It looks a lot like her school playground, with the good kind of swing sets. With love, longing, and a growing understanding, Susie watches her family as they cope with their grief, her father embarks on a search for the killer, her sister undertakes a feat of amazing daring, her little brother builds a fort in her honor and begin the difficult process of healing. In the hands of a brilliant novelist, this story of seemingly unbearable tragedy is transformed into a suspenseful and touching story about family, memory, love, Heaven, and living."
This book for me was... A pleasant reminder of why I typically stray and stay in the science fiction and fantasy section of a book store. That is not to say that I did not like it. On the contrary, this story sat in me like a heavy stone weighing me down for its entirety and as I turned the last page and sat the book down it was like all at once that weight was lifted. So, in that way the story did what we all want stories to do and that is take us away. This is just a place that I typically don't like to go. The words and thoughts of Susie Salmon caused me to tear up and break down my own thoughts on how I viewed something that I don't often think about, but happens everyday all around us. Death. This story shows you only one possible path of destruction a horrible incident like what happened to the Salmon Family. But the grief each individual family member felt was completely different from the other. It's like the the book pulls you with the characters turbulent emotions in 8 directions at once. I especially liked the parts of the book about Susie's sister Lindsey. She would be one of those people I would consider being the bravest sort of person. Having a daughter of my own made Jack Salmon's part in the story the hardest to get through. Whether you say it is slow or fast (I personally, think that I read to slow) the roughly figured 5 hours it took me to read this plus the in between time that I was not reading but yet thinking about it, was far to long to be focused on one dreaded thing... This story or a very close version of it... could be mine. I have no sympathy in my being for the people of this world like Mr. Harvey. And I walk away from this book with new found rage and personal hate for his kind.

As always, thanks to the author Alice Sebold for providing me with some of the greatest writing entertainment!