Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Orson Scott Card's Ender Series; Water for Elephants; A Game of Thrones

I mentioned in my previous post that I've had some dental issues. Through the worst of it, the only way I felt at all well was to sit still and read. I read often, anyway, but I got in a habit of reading even more.

I've never been much of a SciFi reader, but after reading Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game (on the recommendation of Mark), I decided to read the rest of the books in that series. Interesting. I would recommend Ender's Game for anyone who loves scifi, including teens (and more mature tweens), but the other three in the core series are like a whole different series. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed them, especially Speaker for the Dead, which, in my opinion, is a brilliant book. But the rest in the series delve more into philosophy, religion, society, and sciences. The last two in the series weren't as good as Speaker, but I read them anyway.

Then I went on to read the four core books of the Ender's Shadow series. After the first (again a different book than the rest), they deal with the machinations of war, family, redemption, and politics. Again, interesting.

My one big complaint with Card's writing is in characterization. I didn't always understand the actions his characters took. Ender's marriage was totally out of left field. It was hard to see why anyone would fall for the woman. For someone who gave up most of their life to help others, to marry someone who was so self-absorbed, didn't seem right. And the marriage seemed very forced.

And to have a child like Peter grow up to be a great man is almost laughable. He was torturing his siblings and small animals as a child - I can't see him growing up to be a empathic leader. Card tries to explain it, but it didn't float for me.

On the positive side, Card's imagination is staggering. The story lines and ideas he came up with are a wonder. He created interesting worlds and situations and saw them all through to the end.

I've purchased four more books that dovetail into the two series (some are short story collections) so I can finish my trek through the Ender world. I've yet to read them.

When I finished the Ender books, I picked up Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I'd heard about this book, and since it was written during Nanowrimo, it was one I was really interested in reading. Gruen is a master storyteller and a craftsman of believable, moving characters. If you want a masters class in characterization, just pick up this book. You won't be sorry. Amazing read. I'll probably go to see the movie (or wait until I can pick it up on PPV), but I'm not stoked about seeing it. Robert Pattinson plays the lead and I'm not a fan. And then I read how he took the role without ever reading the book and didn't even realize his role was the lead. What the heck? I thought actors did some research/reading before starting a role. Pffffttttt. Just makes me like him less.

I just finished reading A Game of Thrones. Enjoyable. A little hard to get into at first. The POV changes with chapter, but the chapter heading tells whose POV you'll be in, so it wasn't bothersome. I tended to skim through the war scenes. I'll read the rest, I'm sure. In fact, I have the next on order from the library (I'm not buying them - I've bought far too many books lately). I'd love to see how it's handled in the new series on HBO. Having Sean Bean in one of the leads doesn't hurt. When I think of the Lord of the Rings movies, the first thing I always think of is Boromir's death scene - Bean was fantastic. Oh, and if you read this, be wary of rape, murder, incest, and children marrying adults. Wow, that makes it sound pretty bad, doesn't it?

So that's my reading life lately! Are you sleeping yet?

I haven't started a new book yet, and it's driving me crazy! Do I grab an Orson Scott Card, or do I wait for that library book? Maybe I should go check my library account and see if it's in!!

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