Friday, February 27, 2009

book comments 13

"Brisingr, or: The Seven Promises of Eragon Shadeslayer and Saphira Bjartskular -- Inheritance Book III" by Christopher Paolini

--Okay. So in this post, I complained about a book I hadn't enjoyed, and I mentioned looking forward to "Brisingr" as being a story I could read without getting "tied up in knots."
Unfortunately, my powers of prognostication proved inaccurate.

--Don't get me wrong. "Brisingr" is a great story: action, adventure, fantastical creatures and cultures, despair, flawed-yet-triumphant heroism, etc.

--But.

--wordiness (the title is only the beginning), lengthy descriptions, generous use of adverbs, occasional grammatical errors
--Paolini has created multiple languages for his "Eragon" universe. No problem there--I appreciate very much the linguistic skill that takes.
--But.
--There's a word in Paolini's dwarf language that's composed of thirteen letters. Only three of those letters are vowels. Impossible for me to pronounce in my head, let alone try to sound out aloud. That "dwarven" word dwarfs everything else that's going on. Can we say "interrupts flow of story"? Yes, we can. Uffda.
--the forging of Eragon's sword: highly important to the plot
--BUT.
--NOT important enough to describe it for 14 PAGES
--Paolini seems to be taking advantage of the fact that he *knows* the book will sell, no matter what he puts into it, so he's giving himself free rein to write about something he's personally interested in (his "Acknowlegdements" even mentions his interest) instead of what the reader is interested in, namely the characters and the moving-on-with-the-story-already.
--Still, I enjoyed the read. Eragon's story is a great epic, and I'm amazed at some of the plot twists Paolini comes up with. He's a master at world-building, that's certain.
--recommend, but only to die-hard fantasy/Eragon fans

"The Giver" by Lois Lowry
--Oh, how I love love love love love this book.
--story of Jonas, a boy in a perfect society who discovers that his society is perfectly hideous--and he is the only one who knows
--Anyone who enjoys and marvels at George Orwell's "1984" and "Animal Farm" needs to read this one.
--Lowry takes your preconceptions and dismantles them one at a time--in such a subtle, innocent way that it leaves you talking out loud to the book, begging it not to be so.
--I read this once as a teenager; this was my first re-read as an adult. --> so much more understanding now! such a greater emotional impact...
--I both love and hate the ambiguous ending.
--HIGHLY recommend

"Star Trek: The Next Generation -- Triangle: Imzadi II" by Peter David
--first time I've read a ST novel in probably ten years
--second reading of this one
--great plot, interesting twists, David takes the TV characters and translates them perfectly to the page
--especially interesting because scenes from the film "Star Trek: Generations" appear in this book
--too many adverbs, a little too much "telling" instead of "showing" (as in: telling me what the characters are feeling instead of showing me through their words & actions)
--great read for any ST:TNG fan

"Leap Before You Look" by Mary Stolz
--This one's been on my shelves since I was a teenager, and I'd never read it before. Why? Dunno.
--story of a girl named Jimmie who watches her parents' marriage fall apart into divorce
--The novel was published in 1972, so the dialogue contains a lot of great slang that's no longer in use today.
--also a fascinating look at American culture of nearly 40 years ago: connections to the Women's Liberation Movement, the racism of the times (some of which is still very current, unfortunately)...
--a great read for teens --> an interesting challenge to try relating to, since the culture of then was so very different from today's
--recommend

"Mark of the Lion II: An Echo in the Darkness" by Francine Rivers
--sequel to "A Voice in the Wind", continues the story of the Valerians, a family of 1st-century Romans who come into contact with Christianity
--Anyone who has ever struggled with faith will relate to this novel.
--Marcus's anguish and journey toward faith are heart-wrenching and uplifting. --> I cried pretty much throughout the whole book.
--again, a challenge to my own faith
--I'm amazed at how Rivers takes real, spiritual struggle and translates it into fictional characters who face the challenging questions we all answer at some point in our lives.
--Rivers does a little too much "telling" instead of "showing."
--Still, this one was even better than the first one.
--HIGHLY recommend!!!

P.S. I gave "A Voice in the Wind" to my mom for Christmas; she read it and promptly bought this second book AND the third one. So I'll start the third one soon!

Courtney's 2009 Book Total To-Date: 8

3 comments:

Valerie said...

I had never actually "read" any of the Inheritance books until Brisingr--we had listened to the audiobooks of the first two while we were doing some long car trips while fundraising. I agree, the language was really awkward to read. But the guy that does the audiobooks makes all the words smooth as silk. I kept hearing his voice on some of the hard words. So if you've got a couple dozen hours to kill, I heartily recommend the audio versions of the series.

Mintclartha said...

I loved that Francine River series also, the second book was my favorite of the three. Did you know The Giver is going to be a movie? Supposedly set for release in 2011.

Court said...

Val: I've never actually listened to an audiobook! I'd like to, though--just don't know when I'd do it. I don't spend enough time in the car, I guess, and if I'm at home, I'd always feel like reading instead. ;o)

Martha: Yes, I actually saw that somewhere and got really excited about it! I hope they stick to the story and do the book justice--it deserves respectful treatment! :o)
I think Book 2 of Rivers's was my fave of the three as well. I felt like celebrating at the end. ;o)