The journey of a nerd who loves the Lord

Posts tagged ‘book review’

Book Review – Daughter of Dragons

Dragon1Daughter of Dragons
The Legacy of Dragons, Book 1
By: Jack Campbell
Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
Audio Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
Release date: 02-14-17

I do not recall clearly, but I believe I picked this audio book up on a super sale for $1.99 or so.  The premise reads,

The world of Dematr had been locked unchanging for centuries by the Great Guilds, most people living in a world of oil lamps, crossbows, and horse cavalry, the Mechanics reserving to themselves the technology for steam locomotives, rifles, and far-talkers while the Mages treated all others as if they were nothing – until Master Mechanic Mari, dragon slayer and pirate queen, and Master of Mages Alain raised the army of the new day to free their world.

Kira of Pacta Servanda, the daughter of the two greatest heroes of her world, was six years old the day she stood on a battlement in Dorcastle, staring up at a statue of her mother while surrounded by bodyguards who fenced Kira off from the nearby crowds. As the morning sun cast the shadow of Mari’s statue over Kira, she realized that she would spend the rest of her life in that shade. Then the world of Dematr learned that a new kind of ship had left the far-distant world of Urth. The ship would take only 10 years to cover the immense distances between stars. Of all the colony worlds, the ship was coming to Dematr. But for what purpose? Kira was 16 when the ship from Urth arrived, and she discovered that her world still needed heroes.

tigrexUpon reading the premise, I worried that the plot would consist of moan worthy cliches.  I was pleasantly surprised.  While Kira, the main character, has angsty, parent-hating moments that you expect from these types of stories, they are tempered by moments when she demonstrates respect for her parents.  For me, this made it easier for me to relate to her (and kept me from stopping half way through!).  Unfortunately, the plot does involve a budding love interest for her, full of some of the same ol’ one would expect, but the action keeps these from taking center stage for too long.

The above would certainly not push me to recommend this book, but it has three things going for it.  First, the original setting draws you in.  Dematr has mechanics and wizards in a medieval / steampunk like era… and figuring out how that works and their history becomes part of the fun.  Yet, without spoiling too much, how the world got started, and their connection with the ship, proves more interesting.  Second, I really liked the antagonist, and how the final confrontation resolves.  This evil woman represents the worst of humanity’s greed, and gives the reader motivation to see if and how she’s gets what she wants, or her due.  Finally, I really enjoyed the pacing of the book.  It jumped into the action and did not let go until the end.  A few slow scenes throughout provided a needed respite from the action, but it never drug on too long.  I also found it refreshing to read a book that painted parents, and the family relationship, in a positive light.

I can easily recommend this book to lovers of fantasy, sci-fi, and family friendly stories.  Mind you, I understand that life is not always peaches and cream.  And, I enjoy a down to earth, dark story from time to time.  However, I also read books as a form of escape, to imagine better things, and this book does a great job of that… and wraps it all in an exciting journey.  4/5 stars.

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Book Review: Till We Have Faces

facesTill We Have Faces Audio Book Review
Written by C.S. Lewis Audio
Narrated by Nadia May

Description

  1. C.S. Lewis reworks the timeless myth of Cupid and Psyche into an enduring piece of contemporary fiction in this novel about the struggle between sacred and profane love. Set in the pre-Christian world of Glome on the outskirts of Greek civilization, it is a tale of two princesses: the beautiful Psyche, who is loved by the god of love himself, and Orual, Psyche’s unattractive and embittered older sister who loves Psyche with a destructive possessiveness. Her frustration and jealousy over Psyche’s fate sets Orual on the troubled path of self-discovery. Lewis’ last work of fiction, this is often considered his best by critics.

As part of my recent C.S. Lewis kick, I picked up this book, not really knowing what to expect.  I saw the note in the description mentioning that many consider this one of Lewis’ best books, and many of the user reviews agreed.

First, Lewis writes this story of self-discovery completely from the first perspective, which I have grown to enjoy the more I read.   Lewis does a great job keying into the main character, Orual, and making you feel as she feels.  Early on, Orual makes it clear she has beef with the gods, and Lewis does a great job explaining exactly why.  While some define atheists as those who do not believe in gods at all, I have seen some (in fiction) define them as those who believe that the gods are simply not worthy of faith and worship.  That’s exactly how Orual thinks, as nearly the entire book serves as her well thought out complaint against them as a whole.

Ironically, I have seen this exact same sentiment in some of my atheists friends and family.  If God does not exists, how can they be so mad at Him?  I see them shaking their fist in the air, at Him.  They argue, if He exists, He must be a cruel God because of XYZ… and therefore not worthy of worship even if they saw Him face to face.  Lewis excellently paints the argument, drawing on his own feelings and experience as an atheist for many years.  His final strokes in the tale and debate are masterfully painted.

His excellence permeates the other aspects of the story, as well.  From the supporting characters, to describing the world.  He wastes not a word.  In fact, I had to slow down my normal playing speed as He uses thick language full of color and thought.  You cannot listen to this book casually, lest you miss an important point.

Nadia May executes the narration near flawlessly, lending a different voice to each character.  I really enjoyed this entire book from beginning to end.  I highly recommend it to my friends who study theology, those looking for a good, fictional book steeped in mythology, and even my atheist friends who may find a kindred soul in the main character.   5/5 Stars.

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