Friday, September 30, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

If you ask anyone I know, they'll tell you I hate classics. This is not entirely true, as I love many classics. Though, of course, most of the ones I care to read are written by J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis or Isaac Asimov. There's just something about classics. They're hard to read, often uninteresting, and sometimes just stupid.

I was assigned A Tale of Two Cities to read for school. It was the first novel I'd read by Charles Dickens, and it started out seeming like any other classic that I'd read (other than the good ones): utterly hard to read, full of sentence fragments, full of random punctuation, and an overall boring feel to it. Now that I look back, the beginning shouldn't have been boring; I'd just been too dead set against classics to see the ingenuity.

In the end, A Tale of Two Cities is a great read full of unique characters, a story you'll never forget, and the markings of an awesome author. I now know why a certain friend of mine has been trying very hard to get me to read Dickens' books. There are important happenings and subtle hints to future parts of the story hidden all along the journey of this wonderful piece of historical and French Revolution novel that once you finish you just want to start over!

The character development is inspiring, the hidden Easter eggs are ingenious, and the ending is beautiful. If you can get through the long, long beginning and middle of the book (which I'm sure will be much better the second read through), A Tale of Two Cities is be a great book to pick up. I highly recommend it.

Reuben Horst

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead

One piece of the Skin Map has been found. Now the race to unravel the future of the future turns deadly.

I reviewed The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead about a month and a half ago, and I said that I couldn't truly judge whether it was worth reading until I read the book that it leads up to—The Bone House.

First of all I would like to point out that this book is a direct sequel to The Skin Map. I highly recommend not reading this book out of order, as it starts exactly where the last let off. The first chapter could be considered the very next chapter, after the last chapter of The Skin Map.

First of all I'll point out what I disliked about the novel. It had numerous plot holes, though not as many as the last book. The characters are still quite less intelligent than you'd expect modern-day characters to be, though I'm thinking mostly of the main protagonist, Kit Livingstone. In addition, every other chapter seems to jump between perspectives, characters, and even times. The story could go straight from modern day to a hundred years ago without warning—without giving the readers any hint that it just did so. Overall, in other words, it's impossibly confusing.

But don't worry, the book isn't all about inconsistencies and confusing the reader to the point where they have no idea what's going on—or if what's going on even relates to the story in any way whatsoever. The book is jam-packed with all sorts of culture and it's overall... an intriguing book. It's very slow-paced, but makes you want to keep reading, though slowly. The fact that it draws you in but makes you want to read slowly at the same time was quite my downfall, and the reason why it took me so long to read.

If not for the intriguing nature of the book and the story that finally got good by the end of The Skin Map, I wouldn't like this book. But I because of these things I can say that I really enjoyed it and hate that I had to super-speed-read through the entire last half.

So back to the question I asked a month and a half ago: Would I recommend reading The Skin Map? Yes. Yes I would. The whole book feels like it's leading up to the story, and the story finally starts when it ends, but The Bone House is faithful and starts where it stopped. This series is turning out to be far better than I ever thought in the beginning.

The Bone House was publicly released on September 6, 2011.
This book was sent to me for free from Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Reuben Horst

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Oh, and also...

A couple days ago I mentioned that I now have a Facebook page, but I forgot to mention the fact that I also now have an About page here on the blog. Check it out if you have time.

Reuben Horst

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Priest's Graveyard Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Heather Unrau for winning a signed copy of The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker! Thanks everyone else who entered as well. It was tempting to pick the winner manually, but I figured I would stick to my word and pick randomly. I used a program my friend made.

So where have I been? Well I'm sorry you missed it, but I had a birthday! I am now at 15 years of age. This has some upsides, such as I can now get my driver's permit, but it also has downsides, such as people won't be as shocked when they hear the age of the operator of this blog. Seriously, someone (David Hu, one of the administrators of Raptr) was surprised, after looking over one of my blogs, that I was under 18. I never even told him that at the time I was 14.

At present I have a very long list of books to read, so I'll hopefully review more soon. I am currently reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens for school, and I am reading The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead for pleasure. After that, I will be reading Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee, The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo and Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. There are about half a dozen other books I'll read afterward, but I don't have an order for when I'll read them.

In addition, Monday was Labor Day, so I have an excuse for not starting my new Monday weekly trend (song reviewing). Well, forget the fact that I did nothing abnormal on Monday.

So yes, that is an update on my life! What do you think? Should I have more giveaways in the future? If you think so, "Like" my new Facebook page and leave a comment on this post. Don't worry, I don't have that big of a fan following, so you'll have pretty good odds of winning future giveaways. :)

Reuben Horst
Age 15