Vamps in Italy

May 18, 2011 at 6:12 pm (books, pop culture) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The Volturi

Is it me or does every Vampire novel place the Vampire stronghold in Italy? Its so common I’m starting to think its something the authors think is a necessarily spice to the Vampire essence. Its only neat once to read that the vamps were behind the Renaissance or that their base is in Italy.

We’ve got

  • The Volturi in Twilight
  • The high council in A House of Night
  • The past in Blue Bloods

Although Anne Rice has vamps from Italy, it isn’t the only old world country of importance unlike the other novels. And besides she wrote her novels well before the other ones so in my opinion even if Italy was the only old world country of importance in her novels it would be fine. Now I could complain about the amount of awesome vamps in New Orleans considering Tru Blood’s there too, but what would be the point of that? And from what I’ve seen of New Orleans, if vampires were in the US that’s exactly where they would be with all the swamps and old magic.

And as you can see I read far too many vampire books…So what do you think about vampires in Italy? Or New Orleans for that matter?
Kagehime

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Maus

November 4, 2009 at 12:01 pm (art, books, cartoons, comics) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I finally read Maus. It’s a graphic novel split into two books, although you can find them in one, in which the comic artist portrays himself as trying to understand his father’s past.  His father was a Polish Jew who survived the concentration camps during World War II.  This book is not just about his father’s experience, but also about the artist’s experience with his father. 

The graphic novel is truly a survivor’s tale: the father’s and the son’s.  If you think comics are just for kids or the child at heart think again and read this semi autobiographically comic. Spielgelman uses the art form of comics to the fullest.  The Germans are depicted as cats while the Jews are mice.  There are also a few times in which the people are depicted in human form to separate to reality of making the comic and the comic itself.  The use of exaggeration available to comics also helps with the storyline.  The art is the basic black and white with square boxes that many comics have and its easy to follow. 

If you’ve read Maus what do you think about it?

Kagehime

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The Manga Bible

October 29, 2009 at 12:54 pm (anime, books, comics) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I just read The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation by Siku and Akin. I liked it.   It doesn’t go into too much depth considering that its the entire bible in one volume that around 200 pages.  But because it doesn’t go into depth the reader is able to see the progression of time and the cyclical nature of how the Jews would believe in One God then be led astray and how they were brought back again.  It also shows the similarity between the types of people chosen by God.  No one was flawless. 

And Jesus is awesome in here (not that he’s not awesome everywhere else), but I think people have a tendency of showing Jesus as kind of soft.  In this book he’s definitely kick ass.  And when he think about it he probably had to be.  He lasted in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, turned down the devil, knocked some sense into the Pharisees, the list goes on.

The manga bible provides a slightly different point of view than what you’re probably used to, but there are many points of view when it comes to understanding the bible.

Kagehime

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Percy Jackson & The Olympians #1

October 21, 2009 at 11:52 am (books) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I just finished reading the first of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Lightning Thief in preparation for the upcoming movie.  I liked the book a lot considering that it wasn’t at my reading level at all.  It really was written for children.  I loved seeing all the Greek myth references.  I just wonder how much I would have liked the books if I knew nothing at all about Greek mythology, like some kids out there that may be reading these books.  Most of the references are considered common knowledge, whether they are or not depends on who you are, like Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Athena, and Medusa.  Some of the references were really obscure like the giant Procrustes who enjoys making people fit beds and Papisae, the mother of the minotaur. 

Only thing I had a problem with about the myth was that Athena had a daughter.  Like Artemis she pledged to stay a virgin so what’s she doing having a child? Except that since the female goddesses all pledged eternal virginity or faithfulness (except Aphrodite), I guess the author wanted to have at least one child of a female goddess.  And technically Athena may have had a child, that she did not give birth to, but I’m not going in to that right now.  It was rather gross.

And I think the author used the common occurance for ADHD and dyslexia for his advantage in the story.  And if any kids with these conditions do read this story or hear it they get to feel special in a good way for once.

Kagehime

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Marked

September 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm (books) (, , , , , , , , , )

I finished reading Marked, the first book in A House of Night series written by PC Cast and her daughter Kristin today.   I liked the book, it was interesting.  I was kind of afraid it was going to be a Twilight wannabe book or a book that was allowed to be published because teens are so into vampires these days.  Thankfully it was not, but it was still a teen book about high school although the main character Zoey Redbird gets to go to a high school with the name of vampire finishing school which sounds way more awesome, but is still essentially high school. 

It changed up some of the conceptions about vampires as every vampire story seems to do and had vampires living along side humans with both sides knowing full and well about each other.  Which meant the story takes place in a world similar to this one, including our celebrities, but different enough that the reader knows its not the same reality.

This book is addictive so I plan to read the rest in the series and I hope they are as good as or even better than the first. If you read the book did you like it?

Kagehime

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The Host and altruism

June 16, 2009 at 6:36 pm (books) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I just finished reading The Host by Stepanie Meyer, you know the Twilight author.  I found a few similarities not only in the ideas of motherhood in the Twilight series but with some of the later books in Orson Scott Cards’ Ender’s Game series.  There is the idea that motherhood is desired no matter how much pain is necessary to go through it.  If you read Breaking Dawn you could never forget that horrifying birth scene.  In the Host the mothers essentially die when they give completely of themselves in order to give birth. 

Well both Stephanie Meyer and Orson Scott Card are Mormon, and I haven’t seen the occurance of such sacrifice and altruism demanded of the mother in other books.  Since I don’t know too much about the Mormon religion I have to ask is this a treasured value?

The book is really good though and I recommend it, especially if you liked Twilight although remember it is a completely different story with different characters. I didn’t find any of the characters dislikeable, like I mustly found Bella, but I didn’t find  any of them as loveable as either Edward or Jacob. 

A similarity that I did not like between the Twilight series and The Host, is the amount of pain that the beloved causes the girl, but what’s a love story without that?

Kagehime

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The Devil Wears Prada

April 5, 2009 at 5:48 am (books, fashion, movies) (, , , , , , , , )

So I finally read the book “The Devil Wears Prada.”  It was funny how I ended up with the book and I’m thankful I never had a boss like that.. Phew. Well there are books in the library that are free for anyone to take as long as they have another one to switch it out with, but I’ve never heard of most of the ones out in the open area.  The good books, or at least the known titles and authors, are in an office where most people are not allowed to go.  But since I work at the library, I’m allowed back there.  Anyways, the woman I used to work for had come in for a few so I came to visit her and she was back there.  I had to wait a few minutes in order to talk to her, because she had some business to take care of, so I scanned to titles and picked out “The Devil Wears Prada” and started looking through it.  My former boss then asked if I would like to read the book then told me I could keep it if I wanted to so I took it home and read it. 

So back to the book.  I absolutely liked it. The thing the movie had over the book was the abilty to actually see the clothing (and I liked the music too). The movie also managed to humanize the boss much more than the book.  Since the book was based on the authors real experience in the fashion industry as an assistant I wondered how much was based on fact and how much was fiction.  For one, the main character, Andrea, is described as 5’10 and weighing 115 throughout most of the novel, but says the employees at the magazine made her feel short, fat, and ugly.  This makes it seems like models are working there.  Why else the height and so little weight?  So do people working for fashion magazines really look like this?

Kagehime

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Twilight vs. Harry Potter

August 26, 2008 at 3:22 am (books, rant) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I don’t see why the critics keep comparing Twilight to Harry Potter. Its on the cover of New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. The authors are totally different and their books target different audiences.  Maybe what they’re really trying to compare is popularity.  Harry Potter was a huge huge hit that has gotten and is continuing to get a lot of young people to read in a time when people are afraid children aren’t reading as much as they used to.  It also showed that children are willing to read bigger books than were previously thought.  I read the first Harry Potter book when it came out when I in 5th grade I think.  I’ve now read all seven of the books.

I’ve also read the entire Twilight series. Stephenie Meyer’s books target the people most interested in a love story, teenage girls. It has vampires which are always interesting if written about well. It is about the decisions a girl is then forced to make. While Harry Potter has magic and is about a boy growing up in the shadow of his own name and legends.

I think that Meyer develops the emotions of her characters better (she is writing romance), while Rowling has a really amazing grasp on storytelling, in that she knows myths and legends very well and is able to portray them as she wants.  Also she has a good understanding of what people would do in desperate times.  Both are excellent authors in their own right and have an excellent sense of humor.  I’ve laughed outloud from reading both.  I’ve also gasped outloud too at the terrible things that happen to the characters at times.  I’m glad the authors could lighten things up at times. 

The last book in both series upset fans although they were both good books in my opinion.  The epilogue was terrible for Harry Potter (Why was that even there? It was like she had written that when she was 7.  Everyone stayed together even though I think that would have been highly unlikely and it unfortuately hinted at the small size of the magic community in England which made me think Ewww. I think it would have been perfection without it, but I guess Rowling wanted people to know the afterward. As for Breaking Dawn the book was written a bit different than the other ones and was rather graphic in parts.

A test of skill and popularity is whether they write something popular outside of the series that made them popular. Meyer wrote The Host.  I didn’t get a chance to read that yet and I didn’t hear any reviews about it just that it was hyped up. Rowling has written the fairytales mentioned in the seventh book that sold for millons, but that’s not outside of the HP universe, which may be so big that she may never have to leave.  And money not exactly a good test, because Rowling has gotten over a billion dollars from HP from its wide audience (me included) and the fact that its so transferable to material goods and movies.  Ever tried Bertie Bott bag of jellybeans? Well I guess I ended up comparing the two more than the critics… Maybe American critics want an American author to have such acclaim. 

Kagehime

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Breaking Dawn

August 14, 2008 at 4:12 am (books) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

It took me three days to read when it really should have taken two, but I got through it finally.  When I wasn’t reading it was like the TV was telling me to go read.  We just got HD tv so I was flipping to look at the channels and I see that a documentary of Vampires in America was on two channels…it was seriously saying that Vampires were in America… Then I flipped and a show called Jake 2.0 was on whatever that’s about but that only reminded me of Jacob.  Later all these previews for True Blood, a vampire movie, kept playing.  It was rather annoying and odd.  Now that I’m finished I haven’t seen any of that. 

The Twilight series is definitely the best and most interesting book series I’ve read this year or the best several years and Breaking Dawn sums it up well.  It has everything Twilight fans were looking for or at least I was.  It’s longer than the other three books in the series and most of the story is given in Bella’s perspective, but not all of it as with the other books.  I have to say this book was a shocker.  Throughout much of the book I was thinking “Oh my God!”,  “What!”, “This can’t be!” etc. and I’m not given to thinking these thoughts much less yelling them out while reading.  I’m not sure I’ve ever done that except with this book while New Moon too I have to say. 

I was sort of reminded of Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour and Vampire Chronicles in this one unlike the other ones. Not because of the writing style or anything.  Just that it was dark, extreme, and sensual. Also there’s a surprising shocker (that I will not give away) that were in common in The Witching Hour (which is not about Vampires) and Breaking Dawn.  It is actually something that a lot of Vampire novelist attempt to write about and fail, but Meyer succeeded in having. She continues to have life go on as normal, well show that beyond the vampires its going on as normal.

As for the characters: Edward and Jacob great as always.  I was feeling really sorry for Bella for a while who was not annoying in the least and actually got to be really cool (hmm… 🙂 There’s a lot of surprises from the Cullens and werewolves.  There are a lot of surprise throughout the novel so read it if you haven’t! 

As awesome as I think it is I think its lacking some of the relationship development of the earlier books which was really the thing that got me hooked to them in the first place.  There was a lot more action and a reliance on shockers that weren’t in the previous books.  Endings are really hard to write.  It’s the part that’s most likely to upset fans, but this ending was priceless. Now I’m looking foward to Midnight Sun.  In the mean time I guess I’ll just find The Host.

 Kagehime

PS. I love the cover. All the covers were great, but this one is awesome.  The red pawn looks rather threatening doesn’t it? And the Queen is the most powerful piece in the game of chess.

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Reading on the Road

August 10, 2008 at 8:45 pm (books) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

A lot of people can’t read while riding in the car, but I’m glad I can because the trip to and back from Texas was long.  It was 11 hours one day and 10 the next to and the same back.  I only took two books with me, knowing that I read slower in the car, because of all that bouncing so I was afraid of running out.  I couldn’t read at night or anything in the hotel. I read Son of a Witch by Greg Maguire going down and First Truth by Dawn Cook coming back.

Son of a Witch, the sequel to Wicked, followed the story of Elphaba’s son, Lir.  Throughout the whole novel no one is completely certain of his heritage, but for the most part Lir accepts this.  Lir is in search of his own identity and self-identitifying skill that he believes he lacks. There is also the question of the use of religion and what is honor more so than the question of good and evil in Wicked although it touched on that as well.

First Truth is the first of four books in the Truth series.  I had found out about it on one of those lists that people make on Amazon.  It sounded good to me so I just checked it out the library to see and I was right.  It proved to be an interesting and quick read.  The only problem I had with the book was the ending, because it seemed abrupt, but I found out that the first two books in the series had once been one. In the book Alissa, lives in a world with magic only she and most of the people don’t know magic even exists.  She is sent away by her mother on a journey to the hold where is she turn learn magic from a master and become a keeper.  Only problem is the masters are all gone and there remains an insane keeper.  The book is good and like one of the commenters said its for fans of Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley which I am fans of both.  It kind of reminds me of Patricia Wrede’s Lyra books for some reason too.

I am going to try to finish Hidden Truth, the second in the truth series, at least by sometime tomorrow because Breaking Dawn just came into the library and once I start reading that I don’t plan on stopping.

Kagehime

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