Archive for the ‘books’ Category

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All Things are Lights (A Review)

January 24, 2008

Lights

Set against the backdrop of two crusades, Roland struggles with two loves. Diane, who must refuse him for to sin after receiving the ultimate sacrament of the Cathar meant eternal damnation; and Nicolette, wife of Amalric his sworn enemy and chief instigator for the Crusade against the Cathar faith…

So that was what the love story part in the novel was about, and I must say that I didn’t pick the book because of it. I read it for the background setting, and I almost dropped it when the first few pages revealed that Love was the primary theme.
Yet author Robert Shea weaved this book magnificently. It was totally gripping, and the backdrop naturally enfolded the plot. Truth be told, I had only one cheesy moment even though page after page of it was screaming romance. The intricacies of religious clashes held my full attention. It had been so long since such writing affected me.
Four religions clash in the book. Catholicism, which teaches love in the bonds of marriage and clerical celibacy but whose followers and priests disobey. Catharism, which teaches spiritual love but considers the body and the material world as evil. Islam; which tolerates harems and polygamy while at the same time advocating restraint, for the forbidden would be allowable pleasures in Paradise. L’amour courtois, the Religion of Love, which ignores all rules for Love’s sake.
Continuing with the tradition of romance novels, Love triumphs in this book. Yet it is hard won and bought with innumerable deaths for the sake of religion. Cathars are burnt by Catholic inquisitors. Captured crusaders are given the choice to convert or die by Muslim captors. Innocents die as pawns, fit only for sacrifice.
It is a harsh book, but it is one worth reading.

PS After reading the book, I would never look at a priest blessing with the sign of the cross the same way again. People saw it is the sign of oppression and treachery, and by it millions were killed. In a way, I sympathize with the Cathars not because my Protestant predecessors suffered under the same damned Inquisition, but because I believe that freedom of religion and conscience must be honored by every state.

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Oh No! Not HIM!

January 8, 2008

Terry Pratchett
Image Take from: CNN.com

Terry Pratchett, acclaimed fantasy author, is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Now I’ve only read one of his books but it was a great experience. The the setting of when I read it was great as well as the actual content of the book. Details of the setting may appear in another for a blog post, but the text was nothing short of fantastic. It was humor, satire, and adventure rolled into one. Pratchett’s books are literally out of this world in that it is set in the Discworld and that they offer a different type of reading experience. It is Discordian, and it is FUN.
Yet it would only be a matter of time before that humor and wit would be silenced forever. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease characterized by memory loss and loss of cognitive function. There is still no cure for it. Nevertheless, Pratchett proves he still hasn’t lost his humor and wit along with the following words, “I know it’s a very human thing to say ‘Is there anything I can do’, but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry.”
From his words, we do not know if he is still hopes for a recovery or he is only tempering the sad event with a joke. But as his works have shown us, the difference between those two doesn’t matter. It’s the laughter that matters.

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Confessor by: Terry Goodkind (A Violent Reactory Review)

November 20, 2007

Confessor
SPOILERS. BEWARE!
Some books are not meant to be listened to. Confessor by Terry Goodkind is one such book. If you have any mercy left for your ears and your mind, then please don’t listen to its audio book.
Spare yourself from endless justifications and explanations. What could be glossed over in a few minutes with a real book could literally extend to an hour when spoken out loud. On one part of the book I wished the former Prelate dead for her endless tirade on why Nicci should whore herself to Richard Rahl. Nicci would not allow it, and it took about an hour for Anne to get her point. The revelation was, however, irrelevant for Ann. She died almost as soon as she realized Nicci’s point. The Sisters of the Dark would have to be profoundly dumb for them not to notice such a long conversation. They mercifully spared Nicci and me another hour of Ann’s talk.
If you still want to listen to it, then prepare yourself for total unrealism that even minds possessing the greatest potential for the suspension of disbelief could not justify. People screaming for their lives would stop whatever they’re doing and listen to Richard’s endless tirades on the validity of his cause and the futility of theirs. To their credit, at the least they resumed screaming when Richard was over. Deus ex machina pervaded almost every scene. I was left with no element of suspense to hold onto. I knew everything would turn out right.
And for the love of everything short, simple, and crisp; don’t listen to endless repetitions in it. Almost everyone who has a speaking voice in the book couldn’t resist doling out his or her opinions in explained, expounded, and dissected formats. If I were the book’s editor, I would have reduced its size by half and the story would have proceeded just as fine if not better.It came to a point that I was so fed up with it that I almost vowed never to read any book of the Sword of Truth saga ever.
Unfortunately, Confessor is the last book of the saga, and I was in the third to the last chapter. I had to finish it. In one scene, Richard was telling some people that they can never return to where they came from. If I were one of them and was told, “you can never return here,” in no less than ten repetitions in more than ten different variations, then I wouldn’t ever want to return to the place where the tireless, whining voice resides.
Now if you love yourself, please don’t listen to the book. Read it, and skim through the boring, repetitive, and unbelievable parts. You would have spared yourself torture from listening to the droning voice for endless hours. If you’re lucky, perhaps, you would even find the book a great read.