Thursday, 19 July 2012

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

There is something irrefutably romantic about older English, a charm that extends to even the harshest phrase. Titled as an autobiography, the dark toned fore chapters of Jane Eyre certainly become more digestible with a charming dialect. Relating to many - social outcasts, black sheep, ugly ducklings and the like - Jane's story begins as a ten year old orphan. With scenes all to familiar  to some, she endures - not quietly! - physical, verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of relatives, and the school benefactor of Lowood, the charity school she is gladly carted away to from her miserable existence at Gateshead. Discovering for the first time acceptance, friendship and love from a doomed girl Helen and Miss Temple, Jane would spend 8 years of her life at Lowood as both pupil and teacher.
Off to Thornfield as a governess and to meet Mr Edward Rochester who later after tribulations (an insane wife) ; trials (Mr Rochester losing sight and a right hand in an attempt to save the wife from her suicide after she sets Thornfield ablaze) ; a proposal from an austere clergyman and coming into an inheritance and family, Jane marries Edward and would devote her life to taking care of him.
Bronte's depictions of the unshakable love between Jane and Edward inspires the type of writing that today would be used as a love quote. The closing chapter ethereally explains:
"No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.  I know no weariness of my Edward's society: he knows none of mine, any more than
we each do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together"

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Twilight Saga - Stephanie Meyer

What can I say? The millions that flock to cinemas and the fact that these books were on best seller lists for literally years bares testament to the hysteria that Meyer's books have caused. All a result of a dream she had of a beautiful boy in a a clearing which inspired the books and movies that have a cult following of 'Twihards'.
Certainly designed with an adolescent age group in mind, the books are narrated by Bella - a plain Jane who both vampires and teenage boys tend to find equally appealing. The Saga takes the reader on an older crowd fairytale journey that culminates in Bella birthing a vampire/human hybrid and - out of necessity - transforming into a vampire to save her life.
Meyer authored the lessor known and officially unreleased work 'Midnight Sun' which is the tale as experienced through Edwards eyes. Its said that a few versions of Midnight Sun have been drafted, but due to the leak of the work,  Meyer retracted intention to publish until the popularity of the Saga waned.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Wheel of Time: Books 1 to 6 - Robert Jordan

There is no way to contain my excitement as I write this entry. As of a few months ago, I have pledged almost complete literary fidelity to Jordan. Having received his 12 part Wheel of Time series as a gift, I have indulged shamelessly in his work, a feat that he unfortunately could not complete.
The Wheel of Time is a focus of natures necessity, the ages reproducing characters of power and legend to balance good and evil. Compared by the New York Times as a continuation of the world that J.R Tolkien revealed, the foundation of the series lies on Ba'alzamon- the Dark One - who has been imprisoned in the Pit of Doom at Shayol Ghul by the Dragon and Kinslayer Lews Therin Telamon. Once imprisoned, its revealed that Ba'alzamon cursed the male source of the One Power saidin, and as a result Lews Therin Breaks the World as an act of anger and pain when he realises that he has slayed his kin in the madness of the curse, hence the nickname Kinslayer.
Ages later, enter ta'veren: Three farm boys Rand al'Thor, Matt Cauthon and Perrin Ayabra. Each character treated as equally relevant and so continues through the series amongst other significant characters whose actions are influenced by the ta'veren. Rand - the protagonist and strongest ta'veren since Lew Therin - would in the second book be revealed as the Dragon Reborn, born into this age to lead Tarmon Gai'don along with Matt who channels the knowledge of a great general of Manetheren in wars of past and Perrin who reluctantly has the capabilities of a wolf.
Books 1 to 6 sees Rand going from a farm boy to amongst other titles, the Car'a'carn; He Who Comes with the Dawn; conqueror of lands and most importantly the Dragon Reborn. His ability to wield saidin is alluded to in the books until he faces one of the Foresaken, and in defeating him his status is confirmed by Moiranne, the Aes Sedai. Battling what seems insurmountable odds - the Foresaken who try to kill him at every opportunity, Aes Sedai who try to control him, navigating through devious nobility and deadly Seanchan, but most profound; his fear and the perception of his madness. Rand becomes the Dragon Reborn with Lews Therins unwelcome advice in his mind causing an internal struggle to hold on to his identity.
I'm glued to the developments

Monday, 23 April 2012

Pandora - Anne Rice

Its hard to decide which of Rice's great works to write about. Particularly since most are drenched in history and facts, which I love. However, if you're an archaic times fanatic as I am, Pandora would particularly stand out. The foundation of Pandora's tale is set in ancient Rome, a time of decadence and cruelty, honour and stature. Lydia - her Roman name - born to a wealthy family with a father on the Senate, meets the man who is to change the path of her life for centuries to come, Marius. Due to the the drama's of ancient Rome, Lydia finds herself on a Greek island under the guise of "Pandora", a name that other than her self-chosen outcast status, would be her only consistent companion through the ages. The character of Pandora is always linked to Marius, the great love of her life, and she is significantly mentioned in other of Rice's works, such as Queen of the Damned.
Part of the New Tales of the Vampires along with the succeeding book Vittorio, Pandora would particularly be enjoyed individuals not favouring the ordinary

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Sword of Truth Series - Terry Goodkind

Richard Rahl. The protagonist of Goodkinds series seems to be the ultimate representation of what every man wants to be, should be. Kind, just, honourable and physically pleasing, one becomes  instantly part of his endeavour. The series introduces Richard Cypher -yes, the plot later thickens- as a simple woods guide, with an eccentric friend named Zedd - later revealed as First Wizard and Richards grand father. Richard, true to his nature rescues a beautiful women named Kahlan from brutes sent to kill her by Richards biological father, Darken Rahl. Darken Rahl, a powerful wizard and Lord of D'Hara, power hungry and pledging alliance with the Keeper of the Underworld to gain Subtractive magic, a power that has long been erased from wizard lineage, until Richard is born. The actions of Darken Rahl would be the catalyst and introduction to further villains in Goodkinds series. Kahlan, the last remaining Confessor, is far from defenceless upon attack, would later be revealed as the Mother Confessor - "more important than a queen". Battling insurmountable odds against the love that grows between them, Kahlan would later become Richards wife.
Depending on the reader, the Sword of Truth series can be a black and white representation of many human philosophies. Through out the series, the love story between Richard and Kahlan evolves, the biggest decisions between them made out of love for the other. But in every book a "Wizards Rule" is also revealed, typically a life lesson discovered by the Seeker of Truth and War Wizard, Richard Rahl. Richards character alone is note worthy as something extracted from hero tales and human desires of valour, integrity, honour and the power to influence with just these attributes that make him loved, but interestingly, highly formidable. His honour of Life and ones choice in it cascades into a story line that finds him transformed from Richard Cypher, a woods guide, into Richard Rahl, the Seeker of Truth; War Wizard; Lord Rahl of D'Hara and surrounding kingdoms; "Ca'harien" and the husband of the Mother Confessor.
Its as though Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind are literary relatives, small aspects of their respective books touching the the other, whilst maintaining completely separate themes. I could not put down this series, the plots and underlying human philosophies had me enthralled.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice

It was with the 1994 motion picture that my love of Anne Rice commenced. Years later, I was to read the book that completely guaranteed years of interest in the darker, sultrier side of literature. Depicting human emotion more luridly in the extraordinary beings called vampires than one would be able to in actual humans, Anne Rice has created a world that takes the reader and whatever paradigms for vampires they hold true, and converts them into perceptions and expectations of lushness and philosophy. Her beliefs and current disposition when writing seem to reflect in all her protagonists, in this book being Louis, a tortured vampire who mourns the loss of his humanity. Interestingly enough, as a mortal Louis seldom had appreciation for his life after the death of his religious brother, for whose accidental and curious death he was blamed. It is when Louis is on the cusp of death that the character that vicariously could depict Rice's life disposition is introduced. Lestat, the beautiful vampire who is famed in this book for a viciousness that in later work would show as confliction, and embellishment from Louis.
Given what seems to be a choice when bitten, Louis transforms into a vampire and ventures painstakingly with Lestat through decades of brutality. Lestat, finally showing vestiges of emotion fears being left, and converts a sickly but beautiful child into a vampire, Claudia. Claudia, ever existing in a child's form, who would later become a product of Lestats cunning and brutality, and Louis reflection and hope. Ultimately, her relationship with her 'fathers' this leads to her death, and the last bit of humanity that Louis clung to dies with her. His revenge was swift, but transformed him ever more into the loner that is introduced at the beginning of his tale. Living with and past the significant presence's in his life - first his brother, Lestat, Claudia, and then the vampire Armand - his most constant companion has always been his reflection about life and God.
Set in her home of New Orleans and spanning across the Atlantic to Eastern Europe and the splendour of 19th century France, Interview with the Vampire gives its reader a splendid experience.