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Saturday, June 1, 2024

Greymist Fair by Francesca Zappia



Title: Greymist Fair
Author: 
Francesca Zappia (American, 1993- )
Originally published: 2023


Page count: 284
Dates read: 5/22/24-5/28/24
2024 book goal progress: 8 out of 24


Read my other book reviews for my 2024 goals HERE.





Description on back of book:
Two roads lead into a dark forest. They meet at Greymist Fair, the village hidden in the trees, a place kept alive by the families who never leave. The villagers of Greymist Fair know that the woods are a dangerous and magical place, and they avoid stepping off the path at all costs.

One day, Greymist Fair's young tailor, Heike, sets out on the road in search of the red berries she needs to dye her fabrics. But what she finds will lead her to the heart of the forest

First paragraphs:
"A road leads into a dark forest. It passes through a village some travelers never see. The village is not meant for everyone. To outsiders, it's a place of darkness and whispers, threatened by bright-eyes creatures that live in the wood. Its people are friendly, but insular; its routines familiar, but not inclusive.

A tall man in a dark cloak walks the road. Death follows on his heels. Greymist Fair is their home, but only one of them is welcome. The man is a doctor, a healer. Death can only ever be themself. Curious eyes and spiteful hearts follow them through the forest but do not touch them; the road is safe. The doctor and Death don't waste any time; there are many who need the doctor's help."

Favorite quotes:
"The memory felt like a berry dying on the vine; even now its innards were rotting away, leaving only a husk. It felt like someone else's memory from another time."

"We all make mistakes. The good people try to fix them. Sometimes you can't fix them, and you have to live with what happens. Then you just pray to all the gods you know that you don't have to live with it alone."

"When he reached the far edge of the forest, the trees dropped away suddenly, as if they had hit an invisible barrier they couldn't cross. Foothills rolled away into the foggy distance. There was not another living soul as far as he could see, neither animal nor human, and the effect was what he imagined being a ghost might feel like."

CAWPILE Rating: Overall - 7/10 - ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
Characters      - 8
Atmosphere   - 8
Writing Style - 6
Plot                - 7
Intrigue          - 7
Logic             - 6
Enjoyment     - 7
What is a CAWPILE Rating?

Review:
I had expected this to be an adult fairy tale and was a little disappointed to discover that it was more of a teen/young adult novel. It was a quick and easy read. I enjoyed the story and all the different characters. I liked that each part of the book, of which there are 9, is from a different character's perspective, but I wish we got to know the characters more deeply. The story still seemed a bit light and almost shallow, which I think is due to it being a teen book. 

I wish the story had more of an overall dark grit to it, as well as being a little more philosophical. Nonetheless, it does have a good representation of personified Death and could be a good way to approach a discussion of death with someone in their teens. There's magic, but it's more of a presence and the little it's actually used is never really explained, which is a bummer. If you're a teen/young adult or like reading those types of stories, I highly recommend this one!

Now I'm off to read another book... but since a review should be more about the author of the book than about the writer of the blog, I will let Francesca Zappia have the last words:

"Death comes for us all, eventually. Forgetting your fear of it can help for a time, and you can live, but Death is not evil. We will all go with Death one day. We don't have to fear them until then, but we also shouldn't ignore them. Death exists just as we do."

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

American Gods by Niel Gaiman




Title: American Gods
Author: 
Niel Gaiman (English, 1960- )
Originally published: 2001


Page count: 586
Dates read: 4/6/24-4/17/24; 5/1/24-5/15/24
2024 book goal progress: 6 out of 24


Read my other book reviews for my 2024 goals HERE.




Description on back of book:
Shadow is a man with a past. But now he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his wife and stay out of trouble. Until he learns that she's been killed in a terrible accident. Flying home for the funeral, a strange man in the seat next to him introduces himself. The man calls himself Wednesday and he knows more about Shadow than is possible. He warns Shadow that a big storm is coming and from that moment on, nothing will ever be the same.

First paragraph:
"Shadow had done three years in prison. He was big enough and looked don't-fuck-with-me enough that his biggest problem was killing time. So he kept himself in shape, and taught himself coin tricks, and thought a lot about how much he loved his wife."

Favorite quotes:
"There's never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe that they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous."

"Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives."

"The house smelled musty and damp, and a little sweet, as if it were haunted by the ghosts of long-dead cookies."

(More at the end of the blog!)

CAWPILE Rating: Overall - 8.6/10 - ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
Characters      - 10
Atmosphere   - 9
Writing Style - 9
Plot                - 8
Intrigue          - 8
Logic             - 7
Enjoyment     - 9
What is a CAWPILE Rating?

Review:
Wow. This is the best book I've read in a long time. I love all the mythology tied to it, though I wish it went a little more in-depth about the new 'gods.' I had to look up some of the mythological figures, but I enjoyed doing so. I didn't figure out the main plot twist, which made perfect sense once it was revealed. I was definitely suspicious that things weren't lining up correctly, but I didn't guess what it was. I liked that the story kept me on the edge of my seat and was able to surprise me. I did guess another twist at the very end, but that's because I was looking up the old mythologies and it kind of gave it away. The book had a good ending and tied up all the loose ends. I highly recommend it. I'm definitely interested in reading the second book and the other two related novellas.

Now I'm off to read another book... but since a review should be more about the author of the book than about the writer of the blog, I will let Niel Gaiman have the last words:

"Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end."

"None of this can actually be happening. If it makes you more comfortable, you can simply think of it as a metaphor. Religions are, by definition, metaphors, after all: God is a dream, a hope, a woman, an ironist, a father, a city, a house of many rooms, a watchmaker who left his prize chronometer in the desert, someone who loves you - even, perhaps, against all evidence, a celestial being whose only interest is to make sure your football team, army, business, or marriage thrives, prospers, and triumphs over all opposition. Religions are places to stand and look and act, vantage points from which to view the world. So none of this is happening. Such things could not occur. Never a word of it is literally true."

"Native Americans figured that maybe there's something at the back of it all, a creator, a great spirit, and so we say thank you to it, because it's always good to say thank you. But we never built churches. We didn't need to. The land was the church. The land was the religion. The land was older and wiser than the people who walked on it. It gave us salmon and corn and buffalo... and we were the children of the land, just like the porcupine and the skunk and the blue jay."

"A trail of lightning speared across the clouds, and Shadow wondered if that was the thunderbird returning to its high crags, or just an atmospheric discharge, or whether the two ideas were, on some level, the same thing. And of course they were. That was the point, after all."

Sunday, April 28, 2024

The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride



Title:
 The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store
Author: James McBride 
(American-African-Jewish, 1957- )
Originally published: 2023


Page count: 327
Dates read: 4/18/24-4/28/24
2024 book goal progress: 5 out of 24


Read my other book reviews for my 2024 goals HERE.




Description on back of book:
In 1972, when workers were digging the foundations for a new development, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of the long-held secrets kept by the residents of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows. Chicken Hill was where Moshe and Chona Ludlow lived when Moshe integrated his theater and where Chona ran the Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. When the state came looking for a deaf boy to institutionalize him, it was Chona and Nate Timblin, the Black janitor at Moshe’s theater and the unofficial leader of the Black community on Chicken Hill, who worked together to keep the boy safe.

As these characters’ stories overlap and deepen, it becomes clear how much the people who live on the margins of white, Christian America struggle and what they must do to survive. When the truth is finally revealed about what happened on Chicken Hill and the part the town’s white establishment played in it, McBride shows us that even in dark times, it is love and community—heaven and earth—that sustain us.

First sentence:
"There was an old Jew who lived at the site of the old synagogue up on Chicken Hill in the town of Pottstown, Pa., and when Pennsylvania State Troopers found the skeleton at the bottom of an old well off Hayes Street, the old Jew’s house was the first place they went to."

Favorite quotes:
"She spent hours reading about socialists and unions and progressives and politics and corporations, fighting about a meaningless flag that said 'I'm proud to be American,' when it should have said, 'I'm happy to be alive,' and what the difference was, and how one's tribe cannot be better than another tribe because they were all one tribe."

"American history is not meant to be pretty. It is plain. It is simple. It is strong and truthful. Full of blood. And guts. And war."

"Now there's man's understanding and there's women's understanding. There is white folks' understanding and Negroes' understanding. And then there is just plain wisdom. Every child that breathes their first on this earth will drive their fist through the air and strike nothing. But all children are born with will."

CAWPILE Rating: Overall - 5.7/10 - ⭐⭐⭐/5
Characters      - 6
Atmosphere   - 6
Writing Style - 6
Plot                - 6
Intrigue          - 6
Logic             - 5
Enjoyment     - 5
What is a CAWPILE Rating?

Review:
It's an OK story that deals with racism (immigration, Africans, African-Americans, Italians, Irish, Polish, Greek, etc.), ableism (deaf, cerebral palsy, institutionalism, etc.), sexism (strong female characters not considered the norm), religious discrimination (mostly anti-semantic, but others, too), and classism (very big money differences between communities). It was a bit more complicated and convoluted than needed. It ended on a positive note... but justice was never really made. It's not a bad story, but... it wasn't all that good either.

Now I'm off to read another book... but since a review should be more about the author of the book than about the writer of the blog, I will let James McBride have the last words:

"The odd group of well-wishers slowly... tromped forward, a ragtag assortment of travelers moving fifteen feet as if it were fifteen thousand miles, slow travelers all, arrivals from different lands, making a low trek through a country that claimed to be so high, a country that gave them so much yet demanded so much more. They moved slowly... moving toward a common destiny, all of them into a future of American nothing. It was a future they couldn’t quite see, where the richness of all they had brought to the great land of promise would one day be zapped into nothing, the glorious tapestry of their history boiled down to a series of ten-second TV commercials, empty holidays, and sports games filled with the patriotic fluff of red, white, and blue, the celebrants cheering the accompanying dazzle without any idea of the horrible struggles and proud pasts of their forebears who had made their lives so easy. 

The collective history of this sad troupe moving down the corridor would become tiny blots in an American future that would one day scramble their proud histories like eggs, scattering them among the population while feeding mental junk to the populace on devices that would become as common and small as the hot dog... a future in which devices that fit in one’s pocket and went zip, zap, and zilch delivered a danger far more seductive and powerful than any hot dog, a device that children of the future would clamor for and become addicted to, a device that fed them their oppression disguised as free thought."

Monday, March 18, 2024

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson



Title:
 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Stieg Larsson (Swedish, 1954-2004)
Originally published: 2005


Page count: 463
Dates read: 1/29/24-3/17/24
2024 book goal progress: 4 out of 24


Read my other book reviews for my 2024 goals HERE.




Description on back of book:
A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue. It's about the disappearance 40 years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden...and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.

It's about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriet's disappearance...and about Lisbeth Salander, a 24-year-old, pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age, who assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism - and an unexpected connection between themselves.

Trigger Warnings:
-Sexual abuse
-Religious fanaticism and human sacrifice
-Abuse of power
-Manipulations, mind games, and threats
-Extreme violence and other crimes

Note: These are trigger warnings for the book, but this review does not discuss them.

First sentence:
"It happened every year, was almost a ritual."

Favorite quotes:
"Friendship - my definition - is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don't have trust, the friendship will crumble."

CAWPILE Rating: Overall - 6.6/10 - ⭐⭐⭐/5
Characters      - 8
Atmosphere   - 7
Writing Style - 6
Plot                - 7
Intrigue          - 10
Logic             - 5
Enjoyment     - 3
What is a CAWPILE Rating?

Review:
I read this book in high school, over 15 years ago (wow, I'm getting old). All I remembered was Salander's mini-story at the beginning of the book and absolutely nothing else (I honestly question if I finished the book the first time around), other than a general weariness due to extreme violence, which led to a hesitancy to reread the book. I decided that was a long time ago and I've changed/grown a lot since then, so I was going to give it another chance. I wish I hadn't. This is an incredibly disgusting book.

I was sickened by most of the book, nonetheless, I got sucked in and it definitely was a page-turner for me. The description says it's a love story, but it most definitely is not. There are 3 non-traditional lovers, and none of them turn into actual love interests... and none of them are all that interesting.  Some choices of the protagonists seemed illogical, and other choices I vehemently disagree with. We're introduced to sooo many characters that are only around for a brief time and then not really mentioned again (Detective Morell anyone?). Also... I really wanted to like Salander, but I just couldn't... and, thinking about it, there isn't any character in the book (of which there is an incredibly large cast) that I particularly liked. Salander's dragon tattoo was mentioned in passing, but had no significance in the book, and don't understand why it turned into the title of the story since I also wouldn't consider her the main character either.

The ending was not satisfying and the book overall was unnecessarily long. The main mystery was enough of a story that could then be broken into the stories of finding out the truth about 2 particular people. On top of the main mystery, though, there's the story of the: magazine Millennium, businessman Wennerstrom, and Salander has two mini-stories of her own, one towards the beginning and one at the end. All of which felt like unnecessary fluff and filler by the time I finished the book. When I got to the ending, I simultaneously thought, 'That's it?' and 'Thank God I've made it to the end. That was way too much.' By the time the main mystery was solved, it felt like a chore to finish reading about Wennerstrom. The main mystery should have been its own sick story... and then if Larsson wanted to make a story out of the other pieces, they should've been their own book. The book definitely draws you in, but, honestly... I don't recommend it.

Personally, I avoid much of the news due to it being incredibly depressing, and I can't do anything about it (government, economy, climate, crime in general, etc.). This book, though fiction, read like a true story to me. I believe that things like this exist and I couldn't help but think of Epstein, as well as other, still living, billionaires of the world today... and what their unknown activities are. I also thought of the American government trying to censor freedom of speech by banning TikTok (a Chinese company), controlling Facebook/Twitter (American companies), and more. My final quote touches on that a bit.

Now I'm off to read another book... but since a review should be more about the author of the book than about the writer of the blog, I will let Stieg Larsson have the last words:

"It would be deplorable if the special interests had the power to silence those voices in the media that they find uncomfortable."

Replace 'special interests' with government and/or billionaires/big business. Translation:

It would be deplorable if the government, billionaires, and big businesses had the power/money to silence the voices in the media that can point out their shady business practices and/or outright criminal activity. (Keep in mind that much of the media today is run/controlled by those billionaires in question.)

Monday, March 4, 2024

Storm Breaking by Mercedes Lackey



Title:
 Storm Breaking (Mage Storms #3)
Author: Mercedes Lackey (American, 1950- )
Originally published: 1996


Page count: 451
Dates read: 1/29/24-2/27/24
2024 book goal progress: 3 out of 24




Read my other book reviews for my 2024 goals HERE.



Description on back of book:
As mysterious, magic onslaughts ravage Valdemar and the Kingdoms of the west, the western allies, have traveled far to locate the ancient ruins of the Tower of Urtho, Mage of Silence, and excavate his legendary Vault, a hidden stronghold of some of the most powerful magical weapons ever devised. They know now that the mage storms are an "echo" through time of the prehistoric Cataclysm which permanently warped their world more than two thousand years ago. If they don't find a way to stop these magical vibrations they will culminate in another Cataclysm - this time destroying their world for good.

But Urtho's Vault is not the only thing buried for centuries below the Dorisha Plains, and camped in the ruins of what once was the workplace of the most ingenious mage their world has ever known, the desperate allies soon realize that their solution may lie beneath their feet. The saving of their world just might be accomplished by the work of a man who has been dead for millennia!

First sentence:
"Karal lay as quietly as he could, keeping his breathing even to avoid jarring his head."

Favorite quotes:
"Fleas at court! Well, they were not the only bloodsucking vermin here, only the most honest about it. In some ways, he would have preferred fleas to some of the other vermin he had to deal with on a daily basis."

"When it all comes down to it, what is done for the cause of Good is done in the name of every Power of the Light."

CAWPILE Rating: Overall - 7.9/10 - ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
Characters      - 9
Atmosphere   - 8
Writing Style - 8
Plot                - 8
Intrigue          - 7
Logic             - 7
Enjoyment     - 8
What is a CAWPILE Rating?

Review:
This was a great ending to a great story. It follows 3 different story lines and I wish we got a glimpse of them all in the aftermath at the end. I guess the next trilogy will mostly be dealing with all the aftermath and how the 3 different groups faired. The solution to the problem was found through people of a variety of nations, cultures, and ways of thinking coming together to work on a common goal. It was a combination of magic/mages, math/science, politics/governament, and religion/gods. This is a beautiful example of unity at its finiest - if only it wasn't fantasy, the real world would be a much better place. 

Now I'm off to read another book... but since a review should be more about the author of the book than about the writer of the blog, I will let Mercedes Lackey have the last words:

"Please remember that religions are made up of people, most of whom have very little control over what their priests decree is doctrine. Keep in mind that given that the priests and the people have free will and the means to exercise it, gods may not always be able to control their priests either. So what the priests say, and the people believe, is not always the whole truth. Any God is far more than His people make Him. It is the responsibility of the priest to lead them to that understanding, so that they do not attempt to limit Him to what they know."

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Storm Rising by Mercedes Lackey



Title:
 Storm Rising (Mage Storms #2)
Author: Mercedes Lackey (American, 1950- )
Originally published: 1995



Page count: 400
Dates read: 1/11/24-1/26/24
2024 book goal progress: 2 out of 24



Read my other book reviews for my 2024 goals HERE.



Description on back of book:
In Storm Rising, mysterious mage-storms are wreaking havoc on Valdemar, Karse, and all the kingdoms of the West, plaguing these lands not only with disastrous earthquakes, monsoons, and ice storms, but also with venomous magical constructs - terrifying creatures out of nightmare. Both Valdemar's Heralds and Karse's Sunpriests struggle to marshal their combined magical resources to protect their realms from these devastating, spell-fueled onslaughts. But as the situation becomes bleaker and bleaker, the still fragile alliance between these long-hostile lands begins to fray. Unless Valdemar and Karse can locate and destroy the cause of the storms, they may see their entire world demolished in a final magical holocaust.

First sentence:
"Grand Duke Tremane shivered as a cold draft wisped past the shutters behind him and drifted down the back of his neck."

Favorite quote:
"Sejanes cackled and slapped Master Levy on his back. The old man was stronger than he looked; the Master engineer actually staggered for a moment. 'Hiding arrogance behind false modesty, boy? Don't bother; we all know we're in elite company, and you're included in that.' "

CAWPILE Rating: Overall - 7.6/10 - ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
Characters      - 8
Atmosphere   - 7
Writing Style - 7
Plot                - 8
Intrigue          - 8
Logic             - 7
Enjoyment     - 8
What is a CAWPILE Rating?

Review:
Overall, I enjoyed this book. Although, instead of Elspeth, it was Firesong who annoyed me with some poor character choices this time - though it was supposedly resolved by the end. I really like Karal and I'm enjoying reading this trilogy through his eyes. The truth spell was finally brought back and I question why it wasn't used in the first book. Some non-paired Companions are communicating and working with non-heralds, which is unheard of, but I like the twist. I appreciate the overall theme of this trilogy regarding the challenge to look beyond your own prejudice and assumptions about others.

Now I'm off to read another book... but since a review should be more about the author of the book than about the writer of the blog, I will let Mercedes Lackey have the last words. The quote below is a little longer than usual, but it doesn't have any spoilers.

"As Karal squeezed her hand, he allowed himself a moment of annoyance. 'Now tell me this - what good does it do to be a Priest or to be able to talk with Avatars if neither your God nor the representatives of your Goddess are going to give you any clues?'

Natloli chewed her lip thoughtfully for a moment. 'I've been listening to you and An'desha talking about the God Vkandis and the Goddess Star-Eyed, and I wonder if this isn't another one of those cases where there are many choices and, since none of the choices are detrimental, They aren't going to help. I mean - They watch while people kill people and let people die all the time, and only take a hand in things once in a while, when it will make a big difference down the road. The rest of the time, people have to do what they feel they should, and accept the results. It's that "free will" thing again.'

He groaned, 'I could do with a little more guidance and a little less free will!'

'I couldn't.' Once again, she surprised him. 'I want to make my own decisions, and if they're all the wrong ones, then I'll learn from them. I want to be an adult, not a child. I don't want to be led along the safe path! The safe path is never new, and the safe path never teaches you anything others don't already know!'

Had she always been like this, or had her enforced idleness given her time to think about these things? He was astonished at the clarity and fearlessness of her outlook. 'A lot of people wouldn't agree with you,' he replied, answering her as seriously as she had spoken. 'A great many people would rather have the safe path, and be taken care of. They'd rather have all their answers assured, neatly packaged, with "the end" put on the last page.'

'Then they can look for that neat package, but it's a false one, and they're only fooling themselves.' Her eyes were shining, and her color heightened with excitement. 'There is no end to questioning, except decay. And I'm not ready to sit down and rot, and neither are you.'

'You're right, I'm not.' "

Monday, January 8, 2024

Storm Warning by Mercedes Lackey



Title:
 Storm Warning (Mage Storms #1)
Author: Mercedes Lackey (American, 1950- )
Originally published: 1994


Page count: 418
Dates read: 12/18/23-1/5/24
2024 book goal progress: 1 out of 24


Read my other book reviews for my 2024 goals HERE.





Description on back of book:
Karse and Valdemar have long been enemy kingdoms - their people filled with mutual prejudice and mistrust. Only the vile deeds perpetrated on both kingdoms by Ancar of Hardorn, and the subsequent emergence of the armies of the Eastern Empire in the wake of his defeat, have forced these two so-different lands into an uneasy alliance.

The Eastern Empire, which has long been isolated and shrouded in mystery, is ruled by a monarch whose magical tactics may be beyond any sorcery known to the Western kingdoms. Forces to combat this dire foe, not only must traditional enemies unite, but the Companions may have to reveal secrets which they have kept hidden for centuries - even from their beloved Heralds.

First sentence:
"Emperor Charliss sat upon the Iron Throne, bowed down neither by the visible weight of his years nor the invisible weight of his power."

Favorite quote:
"Compassion and honor. Those are what is important. So long as you have both, and act with both, you cannot make any mistake that will bring lasting harm. But good intentions count for something, else I'd have been condemned to the coldest Hell long ago! If you have compassion and honor, and you made a mistake that harmed someone, must you not, out of compassion and honor, see that the mistake is being made and try to stop it? 

And having seen the effects of such a mistake, must you not also try to reverse them? Don't you see? Compassion and honor require that you not make excuses, nor allow yourself to say, 'nothing can be done.' So, even if you make a mistake, you must fix it. You want to."

CAWPILE Rating: Overall - 8.3/10 - ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
Characters      - 9
Atmosphere   - 9
Writing Style - 8
Plot                - 8
Intrigue          - 8
Logic             - 7
Enjoyment     - 9
What is a CAWPILE Rating?

Review:
This was an incredible story! In the last trilogy, I did NOT like how Elspeth was written as a character. Elspeth is a little annoying in this book, too, but she plays a small role instead of a main role in the series so far - so she's bearable. Other than her, I love the characters in this story. It's a bit predictable, but I'm enjoying the story itself, too. It deals with significant trauma, as well as extreme prejudice and changing one's point of view. I laughed. I cried. I'm invested in the plot. If you've made it this far into reading Valdemar, I suggest you keep reading!

Now I'm off to read another book... but since a review should be more about the author of the book than about the writer of the blog, I will let Mercedes Lackey have the last words:

"It is a man's deeds that define him. A good deed done in the name of the Dark is still done for the Light, but an evil one done in the name of the Light is still quite evil, and a soul could be condemned to Darkness for it. I have always felt that, before I passed judgment on any man because of the god he swore by, I would see how he comported himself with his fellows - what he did and how he treated them. If he acted with honor and compassion, the Name he called upon was irrelevant."