Review “The Cadet of Tildor” by Alex Liddell

The Cadet of Tildor

Synopsis: In contrast to some heroines who’s self-assurance manifests primarily as  vanity (cough, cough Throne of Glass), this heroine Renee is self-determined, independent and likable. She fights the cause of a Cadet (kind of a musketeer for the King) because she believes in fighting evil, and she strives to figure out whether the cadets are the way to do that….

Review: The mysterious rogue of a teacher (Savoy) is not as fascinating to me as I’d like, but overall the plot was well put together, the characters interacted well, and there was some growth in the main character (HOORAY). I think the sequel is fairly promising, and the main character def. makes this novel worth the read–esp. as a strong female character….

http://www.amazon.com/The-Cadet-Tildor-Alex-Lidell/dp/0803736819/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360620478&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Review+%22The+Cadet+of+Tildor%22+by+Alex+Liddell

Review Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass is a book about Celaena’s bid for freedom as she and others vie for the title of King’s Champion. Celaena is a complex (if somewhat self-centered) character, who drives the story. The love sequence is ok, and the world is fairly interesting. Some parts of the plot were a little slow for me, and there is a classic love triangle. The mystery and mythology parts are especially good. (I am hoping the characters mature if the sequel ever happens).  If I had to say what its like, I would say its in a similar spirit of “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore, but it is not as captivating. If you read it lightly, I think it can be pretty fun.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1599906953Throne of Glass

Christopher Priest’s “The Islanders” Review

Good thing I like to re-read books (yep, I’m one of those re-reader people)

I Islanders is like a stack of papers one finds in someone’s room. Most of it are chapters to a guide book but some of them are random stories or journal entries–as if someone has been collecting all the information they could real & fictional, because they loved the islands so much.

Trouble is that the stories don’t all agree, there is no overarching plot and the islands themselves are basically unplottable.

Don’t get me wrong, when I say trouble, I mean it in a good way. The reader is left with the mystery (Christopher Priest obviously treats his readers as intelligent). And I definitely need to reread this book to get more and more out of it, but I bet I could reread it many times and get different nuances–I love it when that happens.

What is really cool about the book is the stories relationships to one another are as complex as the characters relationships. After all, the context for someone’s life is based on the relationships that person has with herself (himself), other people and the play in which she lives. (This book explores that too).

If you are into science fiction, anthropology, geography, Lord of the Rings (re: invention of another culture), wicked (ditto), or philosophy give this a read. The stories are short and the meaning is deep.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Islanders-Christopher-Priest/dp/0575088648

The Islanders

PS this would make a great tv show with its complex vignettes, although I doubt anyone would be brave enough to do this, but it would be awesome!!!

Books that are not as well known(ish) but loved by me

Like Tamora Pierce, Kristen Cashore, Robin McKinley, Patricia C. Wrede, J. K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Peter S. Beagle, George McDonald, The Ordinary Princess, The Princess Bride, The Hobbit, Neverending Story, Serephina, Eona, etc. (for my traditional list see my ultimate fairy tale list)

Susan B. Dexter: Warhorse of Esdragon and Winter King’s Wars
Warhorse of Esdragon: heroes who find a magic horse that empowers them to be better! Winter King’s Wars: Reluctant Hero, falls in love, saves the world

Of Two Minds (Point Fantasy)Of Two Minds & More Minds by Carol Matas and Perry Nodelman: Prince who only lives in his mind, Princess who can make her imagination real, an arranged marriage, what’s not to love!

The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley: Sylvia is stuck in her story, and wants it to change. (SuperWhy for adults??)

Nobody’s Son by Sean Stewart: Young Man follows a fairy tale to marry a princess and discover how love defines you

Dave Duncan: A Tale of King’s Blades (The Gilded Chain, Lord of the Fire Lands, Sky of Swords, Paragon Lost, Impossible Odds, The Jaguar Knights): Parallel Worlds, Alternative Endings, all in a world of Three Musketeer + Magic…

The Seer and the SwordThe Seer & the Sword & The Healer’s Keep by Victoria Hanley: Landen is defeated by his enemy and vows revenge, but the princess is nice + secretly she’s a seer….

Claidi Journals (quartet) by Tanith Lee: Claidi finds a journal and starts an adventure outside her protected world

Wren (quartet): Sherwood Smith: Her best character, this magic girl saves the entire kingdom with her magic

To read about how I read fantasy theologically look at my post on the popular fantasy or my analysis of the best fairy tale ever Beauty and the Beast

Katy’s Ultimate Fairy Tale List

First off if you need to know anything about fairy tales I recommend references by Maria Tartar, Jack Zipes and www.surlalunfairytales.com, Jane Yolen is fairly good as well (although she is focused on feminist fairy tales)

Secondly, here are all of the fairy tale things I love

Please note that fairy tales are meant to be oral i.e rewrites are not only allowed, they are within the VERY essence of what makes up a fairy tale–so even bad fairy tales are valid

TV:

Disney: Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Tangled (although they are Disney-fied they are still valid)

Once Upon a Time (obviously),

Jim Henson’s StoryTeller

10th Kingdom (which is usually only about $15 to buy),

Fractured Fairy Tales in Rocky & Bullwinkle,

Nickelodeon’s Grimm Fairy Tale Classics, Fairy Tale Theater

Ever After (Go DaVinci)

Belle and La Bete (The Original French movie in Black and white)

Books

Golden Book of Fairy Tales http://www.amazon.com/Golden-Book-Fairy-Tales-Classics/dp/030717025X (my first love of fairy tales)

The Color Fairy Tale Books by Andrew Lang (of course), my second love fairy tales

Gateway books

Alice and the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Peter Pan by James Barrie

Wizard of Oz L. Frank Baum

so-called-adult-fairy-tales

“The Golden Ass” The last myth and the first fairy tale

“Fables” the comic book (precedes Once Upon a Time the TV show with some similarities)

Enchanted Forest Series & Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede

Deerskin, Beauty, Spindle’s End, Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley

Beast by Donna Jo Napoli (excellent)

Beastly by Alex Flinn (pretty good)

Zel by Donna Jo Napoli

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (so amazing and better than the movie)

Just Ella Margaret Peterson Haddix

The Godmother’s Apprentice by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (the sequels aren’t as good)

Five Hundred Kingdoms series by Mercedes Lackey (inconsistant, but fine)

Ash & Huntress by Malinda Lo

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl

A Well Timed Enchantment by Vivian Vande Velde

Other

Arthur Rackham’s Illustrations

Maxfield Parish’s Illustrations

Kingdom Hearts video games

Wicked “the musical”

Into the Woods “the musical”

Beauty and the Beast on Broadway

Non-angsty vampires…GO

If you want to talk eschatology a good post-apocalyptic book is the way to go. A great post-apocalyptic book about vampires is even better. In this book the vampires don’t angst (they are in fact rather nonemotional as compared to humans). And the adult–that’s right she is not a teenager–finds her life interrupted by vampires, and having to deal with the consequences. Like all Robin McKinley, this is a reread but the reasons why I love this book are (in no particular order)

1. The main character is an adult

2. Its not about happily ever after or tragedy, its about dealing with the problems in your life–the good, the bad and the ugly

3. The vampire casts a mirror on the human life and choices ultimately make up how “good” you are (remember this book was pre-Twilight so the whole vampires can be good thing was only started here)

4. There is absolutely no longing to become a vampire.

5. It deals very closely with how one human being confronts the end of her/the world!

6. The main character is a baker who loves sunlight (how non-angsty can you get!!)

Read it if you like Twilight, read it if you hate Twilight.

Next “No Man is an Island” I love reading good new books!

What I read Now!!

My current comfort books definitely include the following

Dave Duncan “A Man of His Word” series: a faun and a princess, both journey halfway across the world, oh and there’s a whole world of new theology!!

Anne Bishop “Shalador Lady” and “Shalador Queen” plus the “Queen of Darkness” series–ok its dark, has lots of sexual whatevers, but I think the theology is amazing, the characters are real, the women are strong and yes it plays with the heaven and hell ideas, there is a STRONG idea of Call and how one fulfills it in life plus the writing is good. (plus the Shalador books totally talk about leadership with a session)

Sunshine by Robin McKinley–my love affair with Robin McKinley continues (Pegasus will probably joins this list as soon as she finishes it). Sunshine is vampires (no werewolves), mixed with a baker. Its totally my best friend Chloe and I combined into one character. Oh, and its post-apocalyptic. If you love Twilight, read it. If you hate Twilight, read it. Just read it, its amazing.

 

Ever notice that fantasy books do a really good job with sense of call! The heroes always feel called to do something, and they know its right and they pursue it no matter what!!

What I read…

Growing up I didn’t know fantasy existed–ok I knew, but not as a “genre” I just knew I liked that magic stuff….

One of the things I used to do was “read out” a book. That is reading a book so often that I had it practically memorized, and I was beyond reading it anymore–it was in my head forever.

The books that I read out and therefore molded me were…

Wrinkle in Time Quintent by Madeline L’Engle

Narnia series (read in the original publishing order Lewis was wrong to reorder)

Wizard of Oz (the 1st 7 I didn’t own the others)

The Hobbit

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Anne of Green Gables

Note how none of these were singular instead of the Hobbit….amazing how these books will forever be in my head….

Re-reading Harry Potter

 

In Chapter 24 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Harry makes his cataclysmic decision to go after the horcruxes, he begins to sound like Dumbledore.

 

He speaks simply, directly and with authority

 

He thanks people, retains information, and still acts in empathy and sympathy with Griphook and Ollivander.

 

 

He becomes quite …dare I say… pastoral in his demeanor….

Interesting….

 

 

 

 

 

Hunger Games

Sometimes I feel like we can really relate to Hunger Games. Luckily things aren’t quite as bad as during the depression, but for me student debt is a real and heavy weigh in on my life as I tot up the bills and work towards providing for my family.

My friend Charlie says student debt is palpable (we graduated the same year) you can see it weighing people down when they enter a room.

So, here we are, hunger games–who are we sending out as our sacrifice? Who are we going to watch struggle for entertainment. You know what happens in hunger games, everyone is hungry for something. Even the rich city people are always eating, eating, eating (then they throw up to eat more). Why? Because they feel empty inside.

Jesus addresses emptiness, not by telling people to deal, not by pointing out people’s faults, and certainly not by giving them false platitudes.

Jesus sits with people, Jesus meets people, gets to know them, and (always) calls people by name. Maybe that’s what everyone is hungering for–even those of us who hear their name called out by crowds, those who are followed by the paparazzi and have their lives on public display (Duchess of Cambridge anyone) really just want someone to REALLY know them, to REALLY be present with them and to REALLY call them by name.

If the Hunger Games are about the games we end up playing because we are feeling emotionally, physically and spiritually hungry (um…like we do in politics maybe), then Jesus is not about Games. Jesus is about reality, Jesus is about being the real you, Jesus is about the truth of the world, and the Real-ity of Re(a)l-ationships! And if we are asking who is going to be the sacrifice, the answer was, is and will be Jesus Christ, and we don’t need “God in the white house” Imageto know that (did anyone else see that meme?). Because God is bigger than the white house, God is bigger than America and God is bigger than a world economic downturn. If you think we have control over where God is, frankly that is are humanity showing (oops)

If you don’t believe that, then there is no point in preaching the gospel in third world countries, because they are in no way on equal footing to our problems.
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Say it with me, Jesus is about Love and graciousness (not being judgmental, putting our morals on others or creating the world for Christ). God is HERE, love is HERE, let’s act like it. And please let’s think before we say something about how “other people were raised” or what “real morals” are–God loved, talked to and did not make anyone feel bad about their mistakes, he forgave and gave them a chance to change. If Almighty God can do that, then we should at least try to do the same–ImageRemember, no one convinced anyone of anything by yelling insults to them over the internet. People have been changed through true acts of lovingkindness (or hesed as its called in the Old Testament).

Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

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