Monday, June 27, 2011

Myth, Magic and Strange New Worlds

I've been reading again and feeling pleasantly surprised to find my reading list contained four similar books--a fine chance to compare and contrast different authors delving into myth and magic. A fifth book delved into history and faith, beautifully recreating the world of the early Christian church. And a sixth looked at our own world through the eyes of someone who hears numbers in color, which is surely at least a little magical. So, here's my mini-reviews, and, as usual, please click on the links to read the full reviews on gather.

The Dream Crystal, by Mark O’Bannon is a fun teen novel weaving fairytale, faith and myth into a pleasant mixture. The protagonist designs clothes and has an eye for detail that brings some amazing scenes to life. And the story has dark undertones of a three-sided war between human, fae and shadow that might end all dreams and hopes. I'd go for a 2-star bright lively coffee with this one.

Dreams Unleashed, by Linda Hawley is another teen novel, this time set slightly in the future, centering on the adventures of an empty-nester who's had an interesting career. Dreams play an important role in this novel too, revealing strange powers connected with past events. Politics plays a role too, as the protagonist works in secret with defenders of American freedom. You'll probably want a 2-star bright lively coffee with this one too.

End of Mae, by Angela Smith pits a modern journalist against the Jersey Devil and friends, producing some surprises in the mix. It's a short, modern gothic horror story, to be enjoyed with a 1-star crisp sharp coffee over a long lunch-break.

Darwin’s Children, by Natasha Larry (You'll have to look at July's Poetic Monthly Magazine to read my full review of this one) combines the teen angst of Twilight with the superpowers of X-Men, adding a complex and intricately detailed mythology all its own in small-town America. A high-school senior, ostracized at her private school but beloved in her home community, is learning how not to wreck the furniture when hormones send her powers into overdrive. Meanwhile there's a mind-reading father and strange guardians making an appearance; read with a 4-star complex coffee--it's definitely complex.

Apostle, by E.G. Lewis, on the other hand, is set in a very real historical world, telling of the days of the early Christian church through the eyes of a Jewish Christian family in Antioch. Historical and Biblical events take place mostly off-stage, and the author's excellent research is seamlessly threaded into the tale without any hint of preaching. I'd suggest a nice 3-star well-balanced, full-flavored coffee with the well-balanced, richly-imagined tale.

Born on a Blue Day, a memoir by Daniel Tammet gives some fascinating insights into a very different mind. Can you imagine perceiving the color and shape of numbers, or reciting the digits of pi for hours on end? But what about wishing you knew how to find a friend? Drink a 4-star elegant complex coffee while you learn about this author's elegantly complex mind in this memoir.

5 comments:

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maryrussel said...

These all sound like books I would enjoy. I've been reading books about witches, angels,and dragons lately. Not my usual fare but I find I am enjoying them.

Jean Henry Mead said...

A lovely, intriguing roundup of books, Sheila, but I don't quite understand your rating system. (Maybe it's because I don't drink coffee). I do wish that I was able to write book reviews as well as you do.

Sheila Deeth said...

Thanks Jean. I guess the coffee's not really ratings, but I need to make that clearer. Working on it. And thank you so much for the compliment. I've really not been writing book reviews for long--thought it would help me remember what I've read, but it doesn't--just gives me a "backup" memory on the computer.

Natasha Larry said...

Oh! I didn't know Poetic Monthly printed the review already! I'll have to purchase it, thank you so much for the lovely review.