Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Quotes From Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week a theme for a list is suggested. This week's theme is Top Ten Favorite Quotes From Books. This is rather easy because GoodReads has such a cool quote function, that all I had to do was go there and choose ten :D That being said, with some authors it was hard to pick just the one quote, or not to quote an entire book.

Markus Zusak on The Book Thief

“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality, but what could I tell her about those things that she didn't already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race - that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.

None of those things, however, came out of my mouth.

All I was able to do was turn to Leisel Meminger and tell her the only truth I truly know. I said it to the book thief and I say it now to you.

I am haunted by humans.”

Elizabeth Gaskell on North and South

“I wish I could tell you how lonely I am. How cold and harsh it is here. Everywhere there is conflict and unkindness. I think God has forsaken this place. I believe I have seen hell and it's white, it's snow-white.”

Félix J. Palma on La hormiga que quiso ser astronauta

"And the thing is that there are women and women and men and men, and it is not enough to just shuffle them and pick one card from each deck and believe that the result is a couple."

J.K. Rowling on Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

“To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

Catherynne M. Valente on Palimpsest

“She did not want to read this book from start to finish, or rather, she thought perhaps it did not want her to. Instead she practised the art of bibliomancy, trusting the book to show her what it wanted her to know.”

J.R.R. Tolkien on The Fellowship of the Ring

“What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature, when he had a chance!"
"Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need. And he has been well rewarded, Frodo. Be sure that he took so little hurt from the evil, and escaped in the end, because he began his ownership of the Ring so. With Pity.”

Douglas Adams on The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

“It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.”

Jorge Luis Borges on Fictions

“That history should have imitated history was already sufficiently marvellous; that history should imitate literature is inconceivable... ”

Neil Gaiman on Anansi Boys

“Stories are like spiders, with all they long legs, and stories are like spiderwebs, which man gets himself all tangled up in but which look pretty when you see them under a leaf in the morning dew, and in the elegant way that they connect to one another, each to each.”

George R. R. Martin on A Game of Thrones

“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg

Title: Flesh and Spirit

Author: Carol Berg

Date Read: 27.April.2012

On TBR for: 172 days

Format: Paperback

Source: Bought

Challenges: 2012 Outdo Yourself, Off the Shelf 2012

If I had any doubts that Carol Berg can write superb characters (see Rai-Kirah series), Flesh and Spirit completely erased those. In Flesh and Spirit, the main character Valen seems to be made of actual flesh and spirit (and breath and bone, following the name of book 2), and has become one of my favourite characters.

He is a pureblood, which would mean privilege and magic, but a recoudeur, which is the worse offence possible for a pureblood. A recoudeur is pureblood who does not answer to family and the Registry, and runs away and does as he pleases. Only they are hunted down ferociously, so a recoudeur isn't free for very long.

Not Valen, of course. He managed to stay away from the Registry's clutches for 10 years. He managed to do this by taking all sort of jobs, nothing being too lowly to him, by fighting wars and running away when luck turned sour. It is after such an event that we start the story of Flesh and Spirit. Valen and his “friend” have ditched the soldier life to ransack some villages. But Valen managed to get himself shot by an arrow, and his partner in crime is far more greedy than friendly, and as such robs him blind, except for a book that he thinks it's worthless, and leaves him near death to plea for help and sanctuary in a nearby monastery.

And so Valen cries and crawls in search of help, and help does come. Valen gets his wounds treated, a warm and soft bed, and food (glorious food!). Never being one to waste a good bed and meal, he pretends to be more sore than he actually is while he is healing, so that he may never lose the food and the comfort. When he can longer pretend, he decides to take vows and join the brotherhood.

His book, which was far from worthless as he well knew it, is also becoming very famous in the monastery. It is such a rarity, a real Cartamandua book! Cartamandua is a pureblood family whose magic bent is finding ways and making maps. Such a book is infused with magic, that can help anyone find any place, even if they are not on this world. So, basically, priceless.

Valen has no problem with the brothers reading and admiring his book, but he really doesn't want anything to do with it. Valen doesn't like books much, to him the best use they could ever have is as bricks to make walls. He has no use for them, as he can't read. And this isn't because he doesn't know how, but because letters unfocus when he looks at them, making it impossible for him to even learn how to read. But he really hates that Cartamandua book (even if he finds irony in the way it keeps coming back to him), because it reminds him of his family, his abused childhood, and the magic he never cared to learn.

In his time in the monastery Valen manages to get himself thrown in conspiracies of the line of succession and the war that rages throughout Navronne, and of the end of days. All the while, he tries to keep his ancestry unknown and well hidden, has a nasty addiction that is also a cure that must also be secret, and tries to also hide the fact that he can't read. So, not an easy life after all.

But Valen is happy at Gillarine Abbey.

Happiness doesn't last long. All the conspiracies and the war come to bite him in the ass, and he sees all his freedom taken away from him, falling as low as he could ever be.

I really, really liked this book! At first I was a bit lost with the all the names and the geography and the kings. I kind of wished there was a glossary that I could check. But after the first chapters were done, the ones with the infodump about the world, I was just so hooked.

Like I said at the start, Valen is an amazing character, that feels very real. I really liked the way he changes throughout the book, and how no matter how low he got he was never broken. There is a strength to him that was really inspiring.

There is a lot that happens in this book, and from the cliffhanger at the end, much that will happen in the second one, and it seems that more great characters are coming. I'm just waiting for the book to arrive so that I can read it!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Other Reviews: Bookworm Blues | Cherry Mischievous | Fantasy Cafe

Some great articles by Carol Berg: About writing differences @Bookworm Blues | About creating characters @Fantasy Cafe

This Book on: LibraryThing | GoodReads | BookDepository UK | Book Depository US | Amazon UK| Amazon US

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

Title: The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker

Author: Leanna Renee Hieber

Date Read: 21.February.2012

On TBR for: 38 days

Format: Paperback

Source: Gift

Challenges: 2012 Outdo Yourself

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker starts with six children being called by some mystical creature who has chosen them to be The Guard. Their task is to fight demons and evil spirits and generally save humanity. Oh, and they must also wait and prepare for the coming of a seventh one, someone so powerful that will ensure they win their battle against the evil ones once and for all, The Prophecy (cue to dramatic music and lightning).

Flash forward some time, well, about 18 years, and we have young Percy Parker entering the prestigious Athens Academy (even if she is a little older than the majority of applicants). She is intelligent and a genius when it comes to languages. Maths, however, befuddle the poor girl (this point is so stressed out that I was surprised she could even do sums). And since Miss Percy Parker is the main character in this book, she had to have something else to set her apart, wouldn't she? Well, she does have a lot to set her apart. For starters, she is an albino, which means everyone thinks she is a ghost at first. And then there is the fact that she can see and talk to real ghosts and other unseemingly creatures. All of this means this girl is a pretty much a loner, even if she manages to make a couple of good friends throughout the book.

And all along The Guard are still fighting the evil ghosts and demons, and looking for the The Prophecy (even if they are losing a bit of hope on this part).

This book caught my eye because it combined mythology, gothic elements and Victorian Era, which in itself is not a strange combination but it just appealed to me. However, it turned out to be a disappointing book.

What bugged me most with this book was the writing style. I can't really explain why it didn't work for me, but it just didn't. And then, after reading the prologue, I already had a fairly good idea how the story was going to play out, so the next 300 and so pages seemed a bit pointless.

So, what did I like about this book? The characters did grow on me (eventually), especially Alexi and Percy. I liked to read about their romance, and I did think they deserved each other. And, in a way, the fact that the Big Bad Guy and lackeys seemed like something out of Sailor Moon did score some points with me, just because it made the story as silly as it should have been. I did like the mythology and how it was woven in the story, both Persephone and the Firebird.

But in the end it was not enough to make me like this story much. So, that's it for me regarding Miss Percy Parker and her tales.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

This Book on: LibraryThing | GoodReads | BookDepository UK | Book Depository US | Amazon UK| Amazon US