Favorite Childhood Reread

I reread a favorite childhood book last book: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley.

And it came to me: the book was written in a 3ed person omniscient POV.

I knew, of course, that it was written in 3rd person POV. But I haven’t read it in years and I’d somehow thought it was written it 3rd person limited.

I don’t know why. Maybe I am just so used to 3rd person limited. And back when I first read it, I didn’t know the difference between 3rd person limited and 3ed person omniscient.

The difference is so striking now, such a change from the usual stuff. It wasn’t confusing at all! But it is still as good as it was when I first read it.

I quite enjoyed it.

Book Review: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Blurb from GoodReads:

“One evening, my father asked me if I would like to become a ghost bride…”

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

 

I really enjoyed The Ghost Bride. The concept is new to me, a living woman married to the ghost of dead man.

The villains: stalker ghost and his deceased family.

My favorite: the afterlife.

Things I expected, but didn’t get:

  • From the blurb, I thought she was a ghost bride. She got a proposal, but there was no wedding.
  • There was a trial of the villains and I would have liked to see it. I guess only the results mattered to the main character, but the omission of the trial disappointed me.

Things I Liked Least: the romance wasn’t especially convincing.

The afterlife in this book is complicated, complete with bribery and corruption, demons and dragons who serve as minor government officials. I loved it. But I really love ghosts and dragons.

The ghost stalks her from the afterlife, and had he lived, I cannot think he would be much different. If he had lived and she had married into the household (their fathers had a childhood arrangement for her marry the cousin). I think he would have been an awful in-law, the kind who would hit on her and retaliate when she refused.

He haunts her dreams and insists she marry him. He sets up a party in her dreams, complete with unappetizing spirit food, and is upset when she rejects him.

She goes to see a medium, who gives her some medicine to keep the stalker ghost away. But one day it stops working, so she takes a lot more and gets so sick her soul is ejected from her body.

That’s when the book gets interesting. She meets hungry ghosts, a dragon, and she goes to the Plains of the Dead. The Plains is the underworld, with little villages and cities of ghosts. It is wonderful. This portrayal of the spirit world was amazing. This is my favorite part of the book.

The character comes into her own here. It stands in her good with her romance with the cousin of her stalker.

So . . . Girl sees boy; girl thinks she’s in love with boy. Truthfully, this romance never worked for me. I mean, he’s a good guy. But it just happened so fast. She visits him in his dreams and he burns a horse for her (she finds it very helpful in the Plains of the Dead). So I can’t see the romance was useless. But I think it was more lust at first sight rather than love at first sight.

In fact, I think, she fell in lust with the dragon, too. Who can blame her? And no human can compete with a dragon. She left with him in the end, but I don’t buy she’s is in love with him. Plus, he rescued her. So he’s a good guy, too.

In the end, I really, really enjoyed the books. The descriptions were marvelous. The story moved forward at a fairly brisk pace. It was well-written. You should read it, especially if you like ghosts.

Teaser Tuesday: The Ghost Bride

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:
image

The graves were made like small houses or very large armchairs, with wings on either side to encompass a central tablet and small altar. The paths up the hills were overgrown with weeds and lalang, the sharp elephant grass that cuts you if you run finger along it.

– The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Teaser Tuesday: Heritage of Cyador

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:

As he half fills the beaker, he replies, “I don’t seek risks. I try to do only what is necessary.”

“That can be the greatest risk of all.”

– Heritage of Cyador  by L. E. Modesitt

Teaser Tuesday: The Rook, take two

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I am sorry to report I’ve barely made any headway in The Rook since last week and must still therefore post a teaser from somewhere in the beginning!

My teaser:

“How inconvenient,” said the old lady with a sigh. “A rook with no memory of who she is.” There was a pause. “Bugger.”

– by Dan O’Malley

Teaser Tuesday: The Rook

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:

This is who I am , she thought bitterly.  I don’t even get the luxury of not knowing what my name is.

– by Dan O’Malley

Forgotten Baby: Things that Bother me in Books

So, a couple weeks ago, I was reading a book. A fantasy. Not an epic fantasy, not urban fantasy, more sword and sorcery.

There was a guy; he used magic to sort of nudge a girl to like him. She does, they got together, and in due time, she gets pregnant.

The guy, the hero? He panics and wants out. A normal enough reaction in a boy, I suppose. He is all: I never promised her I would marry her.

So, okay, he didn’t. She thought otherwise, but he never said the words. In this community, the action is sort of a promise, but he never got that.

So than he gets into the trouble for questionable use of magic and gets thrown out of his community and into some other community.

The girl’s pregnancy is the catalyst for a bunch of actions, for the story taking off. She and her baby are never mentioned again. He falls in love with someone else, spends a lot to send letters to her, and never thinks about the unborn child he left behind. He never gives the child another thought.

Okay, yes, so it’s probably a little awkward to ask the girl you’re presently in love about the ex-girlfriend who you left pregnant. Still.

I am still a little bothered by how easily he can forget he left a child behind. I mean, he’s the hero of the book and all. He does a lot of good things, goes through a lot, he grows up. But this one thing? I can’t get over it. I finished the whole book weeks ago and it still bothers me.

I kept waiting for him to think about it. He never does. Not even when the girl he loves gets pregnant, too. It’s like the whole thing never happened.

What about the unborn child he left behind? What about the girl he got pregnant? It was a plot point and nothing more. It doesn’t have to be more – he’s that kind of guy, clearly.

But it bothers me. It really does. Do things like that bother you?

 

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

I finished Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett last week. This is the first time I read Color of Magic. I understand there is a movie; I have not seen it.

Blurb from GoodReads:

Terry Pratchett’s profoundly irreverent, bestselling novels have garnered him a revered position in the halls of parody next to the likes of Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.

The Color of Magic is Terry Pratchett’s maiden voyage through the now-legendary land of Discworld. This is where it all begins — with the tourist Twoflower and his wizard guide, Rincewind.

On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There’s an avaricious but inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet…

 

Okay, I have to admit the idea of a world transported on the back giant turtle strikes me slightly ridiculous. In fact, large parts of the book strike me as ridiculous. But it works. It all holds together and not in a ridiculous way. That’s amazing.

The idea of the naïve tourist is a good way to explore this world. He’s an insurance analyst. The very idea of insurance seems a foreign concept to other character, the inept wizard. The inept wizard is a cynical type, one who is forced by his leader and circumstance to actually keep his promise to be a good tour good for the tourist.

In the tourist’s travels, while explaining the idea of insurance to people, one person commits insurance fraud. The book never said so, but I suspect the person never gets his money.

I loved the idea of the invisible dragons, dragons that are only real if you are in the dragon area and if the dragon’s owner believes in them. It’s like riding an invisible airplane, while carrying an invisible gun. Sounds pretty wonderful, doesn’t it? Well, it sounds wonderful to me.

The Luggage is pretty damn interesting, too. I mean, the idea of Luggage, with a capital L, that bites and is infinitely large – well, it would never be lost, never be stolen, and you could carry whatever you liked!

Also, the net around the edge of the world that catches anyone who falls over. Good idea. Too bad it is not fool-proof.

I love it. I love it a lot more than I thought I would, considering how utterly silly the idea sounds.

The book ends when the inept wizard falls over the edge of the world. This is a cliffhanger, and I don’t think I approve. But, luckily, the second book is already out.

Pilfering Youth

Tell me what you think about this story? Is it confusing?

Eyebrows arched high, blue eyes wide and carefully made up to hide the first signs of wrinkles, Ashara posed in front of the crowd. Colorful fabric streamed behind her, a parody of the flags ringing the stadium. Cameras flashed, but the applause was polite.

She turned on her six-inch heels and stalked back across the stage. Her hair swept down her back in long, loose waves; it excited more comment than the flower-print folds of her dress.

Her heels left faint gold marks on the wooden boards, but no one noticed.

The next model was a slim, dark figure in white wedges, a shimmering black crop top and ivory pants. She strode over her predecessor’s footsteps.

The crowd roared and cameras flashed enough to blind anyone unfortunate enough to get caught in the glare. The model kept turning, kept moving. She was rumored to take Ashara’s place as the next top model.

A hush came over the crowd when she stumbled and went down hard. One of the stage crew helped her off.

Ashara came back in a number designed to show off a svelte body, all smooth lines and shining fabric. Whispers flowed like water at her appearance. She looked as if she had lost a decade in the ten minutes she had been off stage.

Friday Flash: Master Piece

This isn’t the flash I intended to write, but this is what came out of my keyboard.

He stood back and inspected the work. His legs trembled and his arms were weak, exhausted from holding a brush for a so long.

It was perfect for this, the world of his birth, and epitome of all that was decadent and thoughtless. They took pleasure in the suffering their thoughtlessness inflicted on others, saying, this was the way of the world. This was what one sacrificed in order to move forward.

Thousands of pages of bleached white paper layered one over another like angular clouds. It was the perfect base, all sharp points and an inviting texture. He’d laced two women on top, blond, bare skin bleached white, and carefully applied his special red lipstick to their lips. The procurer was well worth the price. He’d tied a hundred thousand of his carefully prepared rose buds on top of the paper, a silent exclamation mark.
People would touch, stroke the bodies, brush their fingers over the paper, marvel over the contrast between the deep red roses and pure white paper.

And they would die. The red poison in the lips and roses would infect the world like a firestorm. Here and gone before anyone quite realized what was happening.

He wouldn’t survive it, of course. But he was glad to pay the price and call it cheap. This, the place where he was born, the place that had nurtured him, deserved nothing less than to drown in its own vomit like a cheap drunk.