September 5, 2009

The alchemyst

Posted in Books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:50 am by sagito

I took to my vacations some books to read in the (few) moments where I wasn’t doing anything (like when we couldn’t go to the beach at 13:00). 😛 I read several books, nut this time I will be speaking about the first volume of the “The secrets of the immortal Nicholas Flamel” saga, called “The alchemyst”, from Michael Scott.

This book tells the story of two apparently normal twin brothers, Sophie and Josh Newman which are introduced to a magic and mythological world through the hard way when the book store of Nick Flemming and his wife, where Josh worked, is attacked by a magician called John Dee. Nick and Perry Flemming (his wife) defend the store with magic arts and lose the battle, allowing John Dee to steal the a very old book called the Codex (or Book of Abraham) from them and kidnapping Perry. This book contains ancient spells, amongst with the secret potion that kept Nick and Perry alive for hundreds of years. With the aid of the twins, Nick Flemming, which is an alias for Nicholas Flamel, starts an epic battle to recover the book and his wife, Perry (who is actually Perenelle Flamel), while they find out that the twins are actually two important pieces of an ancient prophecy, having powers that even they cannot imagine.

The story is incredible and very well written, with some amazing and unexpected twists. When the reader thinks that something is quite predictable, the story takes our mind in a 180º spin and everything is once again impossible to predict. However, some people may find the writing style oriented to children. In my opinion, it is not, it just gives a false sense of simplicity that allows the reader to understand the whole story, but makes us think at the same time.

The only problem I found with this book is that it assumes that the reader knows a whole bunch of things about both mythology and  technology. It was not a problem for me because I actually love both of these topics, but I don’t think that everyone knows what is a Golem, or who are Hekate, Scathach and Morrigan, or even the story of Yggdrasil (the tree of the world, whose roots cross the nine underworlds and keep a legendary monster (Nidhogg) in closure in the dark underworld of Nilfheim). However, the book provides some footer tips that can be quite helpful to understand it, if you have the basic knowledge about mythology.

I really liked this book and its sequel (The magician). I keep waiting for the third volume, called “The Sorceress”. I classify it as a must-read! 😛

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August 9, 2009

Hollow People

Posted in Books tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:46 am by sagito

Some time ago, a very special person gave me a book from an author that I previously didn’t know anything about named Brian Keaney. The book was named “Hollow People” and it seemed to tell a very darkish story. However, there was something in the book that caught my eye. It had been commented by Philip Pullman (the author of “His Dark Materials” which is one of the best trilogy I’ve ever read)! After knowing this, I was quite thrilled about this unknown book.

The book tells the story about a boy, Dante Cazabon and a girl Beatrice Argenti, who live in a world in which people cannot dream. Dante is a poor orphan, who works as a kitchen boy in the asylum at the island of Tarnagar. Bea is the daughter of two rich doctors who work in the asylum. Their country is ruled by Dr. Sigmundus who banned crime and violence from its land by giving people a special drug called Ichor. Every adult must take its dose of Ichor which makes them obey to the rulers order, work blindly for the good of society and become unable to dream. The story starts when Bea is about to perform her maturity ritual where she will take Ichor for the first time, against her will. A short time before, she meets Dante, the poor kitchen boy, and their lives change after that moment, as they meet a strange patient and discover a strange form of power that can bend time and space.

The story is wonderful and belongs to a trilogy named “The promises of Dr. Sigmundus”. It is very well written and presents the reader with some amazing surprises every moment. In a world where nothing is what it seems, and based on some real-world scientific facts, the story is a challenge for our minds as it presents us the twisted story of the country of Gehenna. The second volume of this trilogy was already published, by the name of Gallowglass (or the Broken Mirror) and I’m already reading it too. So far it keeps the same level of ambience and atmosphere as “Hollow People”. These books take me back to the “His Dark Materials” trilogy as they represent a wonderful world, troubled by the actions of some dark force that if we think about it… Its not so different from our own!

If you like fantasy stories and romances, this book is the way to go… One of the best books I’ve read so far!

July 26, 2009

Breaking Dawn

Posted in Books tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 10:36 pm by sagito

Hi and welcome to my first post about books! This will be about the well-known book “Breaking Dawn” from Stephanie Meyer. This is the last book from the Light and Darkness collection and I must say that I really loved all the previous three books (Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse) and the Twilight movie. In few words, these books tell us the story of a girl, Bella Swan, who falls in love with a vampire. After many adventures, this last book is supposed to answer every question that was left unanswered in the previous volumes. I will try not to give any spoiler, but if you haven’t read the book, and don’t want to risk it, then don’t read the next few lines.

“Breaking Dawn” starts off quite slow, contradicting the past three volumes, and that was a rather unpleasant feeling, because I really loved the rhythm of the story up until this point… But, as I had almost 800 pages of book, I did not pay it too much attention. However, I sadly noticed that the writing is very confusing from the start until the end. Unexplained changes of pace, fragments of story that are thrown to the air and that are never picked up again, quick decisions or changes of mind that are taken without a reason… As I was reading I had the impression that the book was written with a certain schedule in mind and was rushed to be ready on time… This could explain the appearance of some of these loose ends.

But for me, there is something that is unexplainable… Towards the end, the story gets ready for a really big happening (which I will try not to mention) and when everything is ready… Nothing happens! So much preparation, so much effort, so many wasted time… For nothing? Not even a little bit of action or emotion? Everything after that moment stays exactly as it was before. And this moment is immediately followed by “They live happilly ever after”…

So, summing things up, this was a deception, because I was really waiting for something much better from this grand finale… A loose story that does not really answer all of our questions about the plot, probably written having a tight schedule in mind and with some unexplainable failures and rhythm changes that leave the reader confused… For example (and trying not to spoil anyone):

Why did Alistair flee?  What were those clues that Alice left for if they were never used? Why did the Volturi abandon their initial plans of abducting some of the vampires? Amongst some other questions…