Saturday, 17 March 2012

Spring is here!

I have many things in my head, but not writing. I started with the next flash, and I am planning to continue or even finish it this weekend, but I won't make any promises.
Underwater, I wrote drowning,
I used to be such a good swimmer,
but for now my head is in the clouds...

On the up side, one thing that actually can keep me focused is... Origami. I know that's not what this blog is about, but you'll get a photo anyway. Maybe I should consider blogging about paper folding as well... On the other hand, I wouldn't know what to say, sine I'm only just following other people's instructions and not inventing my own stuff. Creativity is something I do with my head, not my hands.
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Friday, 16 March 2012

Review: Pike's Quest

Pike's QuestPike's Quest by K.J. Bennett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pike's Quest, self-published by indie author K.J. Bennett in October 2011, is a fantasy novel set in the far future, after mankind has – almost – destroyed the earth. Here, in the age of the New Dawn, a fish-faced boy named Pike is destined to be a hero and save the world from... Well, never mind, I want you to go and read the book, so don't expect details!
I was warned before I started reading that there would be a lot of that so-called English or British humour which I always thought I enjoy. And I did! Only that I realised I probably don't get is as much as I thought. That being said, here is my opinion of the book.

I really enjoyed the beginning, the description of Pike as a kid, the irony with which he is mobbed. It made me laugh a lot, and then I got tired of it.
I really enjoyed the ending; it had the grand final battle which you expect in a fantasy adventure. It kept me glued to the screen of my eReader.
It's just the middle part which makes writing this review a bit difficult: I don't understand it. More precisely, I don't understand the characters. The story line is very clear and well laid-out, the pace with which everything happens is, probably, a bit rushed, but you don't have to stretch, right? The characters, though...
There's Pike, who is told by a warlock that he is destined to be a hero, and although Pike neither wants to be one or thinks he could be one, he goes on a quest guided by a talking sparrow. Why? Because he is told that it is his destiny. Maybe that's meant to be satirical, in fact I hope so. Otherwise, it would just be a lack of character development.
Pike is not the only character I don't understand. Some scenes, some actions throughout the book, really threw me off, because some character did something that didn't fit the personality I thought that character had. To me, it looked like it was done simply because the storyline required it.
I think the characters that populate the world in the New Dawn are interesting, funny, weird – all you need for humorous fantasy. I'm just not sure, because I don't think I really got to know them, and that's a pity.

Overall, I enjoyed Pike's Quest. It was funny. It was clever. Maybe it was too clever for me. I think you should judge for yourself. It's not expensive, and it is worth it.

View all my reviews on goodreads.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Welcome to the Dream World

"every person's imagination is a little different"
was the perfect reason to delve a bit into the magical dream world, to which Anne contributed as a child and into which Brian vanished, to become the successor of Norbert, the guardian who is doing the story-telling in Sixteen. (I had to link to the Wikipedia article, because it's so funny that there is one! I browsed it briefly and learned that Norbert is not even doing any story-telling, because there's no plot involved. Oh well.)
I had wanted to explore it a bit more with you for some time, explain what it actually is and how it works. I know this is not really flash fiction, as it doesn't tell much of a story. I'm sorry if that irritated you. Maybe it helps imagining a huge dragon flying over his world, with you on his back, giving you an introductory tour?

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Thursday, 1 March 2012

Review: Mort


Mort by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mort (first published 1987) is the first Death novel in Terry Pratchett's discworld series. The book follows Mort, a youth consisting mostly of elbows and knees whom his parents send to seek apprenticeship. None of the regular people want him, but just when he is about to give up, Death enters the scene. His offer is reasonable, especially for a boy like Mort, who is eager to learn the secrets of the universe.
Death takes him shopping in the big city before they settle down at his realm outside of time. There, Mort meets Albert, Death's faithful servant, and Ysabell, Death's daughter (adopted). They don't get along all that well, like teenagers of opposed sexes often do, but Mort is busy taking care of Binky, the horse, and accompanying Death on Duty anyway.
When Death decides to take a few days off, it's Mort's turn to take care of the Duty, and he massively fails when confronted with a beautiful princess and her assassin. He kills the assassin instead of letting the girl die, causing reality to break apart, while Death is busy learning how to be more human and less anthropomorphic personification. With only Ysabell and maybe Albert as support, Mort has to decide if and how to make up for his mistake.

I've long been a fan of the Death of the discworld and therefore enjoyed reading Mort immensely. The story is filled with interesting characters like the princess Keli, a young wizard called Cutwell, and of course Death, Albert, Ysabell and Mort himself. Guest stars, by the way, include the wizard Rincewind and the librarian of Unseen University.
The novel offers an appealing storyline, throughout which we can watch Mort - and partly also Ysabell - grow up. It ends in a furious battle of life and death between Mort and Death, but the outcome will of course not be revealed here. Let me just say that it came as a surprise, but at the same time didn't surprise me at all.
If you are a fan of humorous fantasy stories flavoured with a young love story, you could definitely read this book and not be disappointed.

There is one thing, though, caused by the British Books Challenge 2012 and my goal to read all discworld novels, that is starting to annoy me. In Mort alone were at least three mentions of the slow light of the discworld. This was also mentioned in all previous books, and I really, really want to say "Yes, I know, stop telling me!" So, maybe it's a good thing I'm having an unplanned hiatus at the moment, reading K.J. Bennett's  Pike's Quest, which I got for free last week. Since the author is British, expect a review of that next!

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