Sunday, February 12, 2017

SUNLIGHT & SHADOW by Cameron Dokey | A Retelling of THE MAGIC FLUTE

I read this book as a part of Jenelle Schmidt's February Is Fantasy Month challenge.

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★☆☆☆☆

I hate not finishing a book, but I particularly hated to do it to this.

A retelling of The Magic Flute, Cameron Dokey's Sunlight & Shadow had so much potential. And as the story started out, I thought it might be a new favourite. But with each new chapter and each new point-of-view, my interest declined.

Sarastro was too dramatic. Lapin talked too much. There was quite the overdose of random, unnecessary backstory. Tern put too much faith in his heart. And then, there was Gayna.

Though Papagena is one of my favourite characters from Mozart's opera, the book-version of her was nasty. Seventy pages in and she hates Mina? For no apparent reason?

The thing that irked me the most about Sunlight & Shadow was just how seriously it took itself. The Magic Flute *is* a comedy, after all. Had there been less drama and whatnot, this could've been a remarkable story.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

(Sunlight & Shadow was written by Cameron Dokey and published by Simon Pulse; its copyright date is 2004.)



❤, the Book Dragon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF SUNLIGHT & SHADOW

{Source.}

Cameron Dokey is a US author living in Seattle, Washington. She has a collection of over fifty old sci-fi and horror films. Cameron was born in the Central Valley of California, and grew up reading classical literature and mythology, perhaps due to her father, Richard, being a teacher of Philosophy, Creative Writing, and Western Literature.

Cameron lives with her husband and three cats, and is the author of over a dozen young adult novels. Her favorite read is J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. When she's not writing, Cameron likes to work in the garden and is learning to quilt.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

ANTIGONE by Sophocles, Dudley Fitts, & Robert Fitzgerald | An Ancient Greek's Perspective on Loyalty

{Image by yours truly.}
★★★☆☆

Antigone's brother has died, and her uncle, King Creon, orders his body to be left to the wilderness, untouched by anyone. But when Antigone defies his orders and buries her brother, Creon is enraged... For should Antigone's highest loyalty be to her God? Or should it be to an earthly authority?

Antigone was a fascinating story, though I feel it might've been better performed rather than actually read. The writing style was supportive and direct, much like a traditional script. However, I didn't feel that much personality was added to the characters. Maybe another sign that Antigone was intended to be a play?

By the end, I was rather confused on what Sophocles's perspective was; did he believe one's highest loyalty should be to God, or to their king? Still, I did enjoy Antigone to a point, and it made for an enlightening read. ☺

You may want to know: There is violence, warfare, and murder, as well as several instances of suicide. There were also false idols (since this was written based on Greek mythology); there might've been a stray swear word or two.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

(Antigone was written by Sophocles.)



❤, the Book Dragon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF ANTIGONE

{Source.}

Sophocles was an ancient playwright of Greek tragedy. His most known work is Oedipus the King.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

THE MAGIC FLUTE Script by Steven Fogell & Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | An Amazing Retelling of Mozart's Classic Fairytale

This review will be slightly different than most, since it's covering a script rather than an actual book. ☺

{Image by yours truly.}

★★★★★

So I loved this script! A lot! My favourite part was honestly the--


"It's her!"
"It's him?" 
"It's him!"
"It's her?"
"It's her!"
"Pamina!"
"Tamino!"
"Papageno!"
"Tamino!"
"Pamina!"
"Sarastro!"
"Tamino?"
"Sarastro?"
"Papageno?"

--between the four lead roles. 😉

But anywhozens, if you're looking for an amazing (and clean!) script heavily influenced by Mozart's The Magic Flute, this is it! This retelling is sheer perfection (save for a teensy plot hole involving Monostatos in Act II). Fogell added just enough to each individual character; I've been having a blast as Princess Pamina!

So five stars! And again, if you're looking for a script... (*whispers*) Choose this one. ☺


You may want to know: There is some romance (but no kissing), and a tidbit of (very mild) violence.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

(The Magic Flute was written by Steven Fogell and published by Eldridge Publishing Company; its copyright date is 2002.)


❤, the Book Dragon

Friday, January 27, 2017

SKY'S BRIDAL TRAIN by Margo Hansen | An Adventurous Victorian Romance

{Image by yours truly.}
★★★☆☆

What intrigued me about this book was the series title, so when I won it in a giveaway, it was the perfect chance to read it!

Sky's Bridal Train tells the story of Sky -- a young woman whose mother has died, leaving her to the reluctant care of her stepfather, an English baron. But when tragedy strikes the family yet again, and a series of last words cause remnants of the past to come rippling back to the surface, Sky finds she must journey to the US. Armed with trunks full of dresses and a bit of spare change loaned to her by her uncle, she arrives in New York with little hope... other than that she has a twin sister, and she must find her.

Although it did contain a few stray clichés, I enjoyed Sky's Bridal Train!

While a majority of the female characters were portrayed damsels in distress, Margo Hansen's characters were still rather sweet. It took me more than one encounter with the main love interest before I began to appreciate him, but I disliked the villain as soon as we met.

As to the writing style, I'm not entirely sure how to describe it. It was neither particularly good or particularly bad, and while it was more than "just okay," it was just... there.

As to the plot, I was shocked when I read that certain plot twist, at the end! It was a very clever move!

I feel like the setting could've been expanded upon more, with perhaps a little more description of the areas the wagon train passed through, as well as some of the towns and encampments the characters encountered.

Still, Sky's Bridal Train made for a fun, adventurous little read!

You may want to know: There are mentions and instances of murder and violence, as well as kissing. It was also implied as to a few male characters' indecent intentions towards some of the women.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

(Sky's Bridal Train was written by Margo Hansen and published by Tate Publishing; its copyright date is 2011.)



❤, the Book Dragon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF SKY'S BRIDAL TRAIN

{Source.}

Margo Hansen has worked mainly with children and young people through Christian schools, vacation Bible schools, Sunday school, release time, and church camps as well as homeschooling her own three children for sixteen years. Now a grandmother, she and her husband, Bruce, live in the north woods of Minnesota -- the setting of her A Newly Weds Series.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding | A Brutal Allegory of the Evils of Mankind

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★★☆☆☆

What might happen if a group of children were trapped on an island? What if they grew restless? What if they lost all sense of order and morality? William Golding answers those questions in his novel Lord of the Flies.

To be completely blunt, I expected to dislike this book much more than I did. And it wasn't so much the way Golding told the story I disliked, as the story he chose to tell.

Golding's writing was actually rather enjoyable, and I might've rated Lord of the Flies three or four stars... if it hadn't been for the content. Without giving away any spoilers, I would like to mention that this book is very disturbing. It's gory. It's strange. And it's something I probably wouldn't have read, had my English teacher not assigned it to the class.

But, I can see some ways in which this might be considered a classic. Golding's writing is descriptive and detailed, and though at times I skipped whole paragraphs due to such, Lord of the Flies is an extremely well-thought book. However, due to the negatives mentioned above, I would not recommend this.

You may want to know: There are several instances of swearing and taking God's name in vain. There is also quite a bit of violence and gore.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

(Lord of the Flies was written by Jane Austen and published by Penguin Books; its copyright date is 1982.)



❤, the Book Dragon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF LORD OF THE FLIES

{Source.}

Sir William Gerald Golding was a British novelist, poet, and playwright best known for his 1954 novel Lord of the Flies. He was awarded the Booker Prize for literature in 1980 for his novel Rites of Passage, the first book of the trilogy To the Ends of the Earth. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983 and was knighted in 1988. In 2008, The Times ranked Golding third on their list of the fifty greatest British writers since 1945.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

PRIDE & PREJUDICE by Jane Austen | A Regency Tale of True Love & Social Standards

{Image by yours truly.}
★★★☆☆
(3-4 stars)

The BBC miniseries remain, to this day, some of my favourite Jane Austen adaptions. Thus I was rather saddened when I first cracked open Emma to find it not at all to my liking, and soon after began Pride & Prejudice to find it much better, but still with its dull bits.

For those of you who are unacquainted with Pride & Prejudice, it follows a year in the life of Elizabeth Bennet, a young woman of marriageable age who hails from a very poor (and rather silly) family. Determined to marry a man who is both sensible and wealthy, she finds herself turning down proposal after proposal from unwelcome suitors... but very soon learns a lesson in love and understanding.

I had hoped to fall head-over-heels-in-love with this book... But alas, it was not meant to be.

Austen's prose was witty and poetic, but not quite to my liking. I found myself lost at times between the pools of words and stray commas.

The love story and the characters, however, surely made for a legend. Pride & Prejudice certainly has the structure of a classic, with all its silly, wonderful, and romantic parts. Mr. Darcy (though the portrayal of his character at the beginning did him no justice) was such a gentleman, and Elizabeth was absolutely perfect for him.

For those who enjoy classics, I would recommend this. For those who do not... Well, I'd still recommend it, even if just for the sake of reading it. 😉

You may want to know: There is very mild kissing, as well as a few stray swear words and uses of God's name in vain. There are also some implications that hint at indecency between an unmarried couple.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

(Pride & Prejudice was written by Jane Austen.)



❤, the Book Dragon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF PRIDE & PREJUDICE

{Source.}

Jane Austen was born on December sixteenth in 1775. Her novels include Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Lady Susan.

Friday, January 6, 2017

WAKING UP by Ted Dekker | Finding Yourself Through Christ

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★★★★☆

Most essays aren't page-turners. Most essays don't hold my attention for very long. This essay was different. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, reading it all in one sitting.

Ted Dekker's Waking Up is a personal story of his childhood at a boarding school in Indonesia, his journey to being published, and his search for acceptance in this life. Using direct yet imaginative allegories, Ted paints an image of how our relationship with God should be.

The first half of this book was probably my favourite. Ted's intense, addictive writing drew me in from the first page, and though it was still incredibly written the whole way through, I did lose a little bit of interest. Maybe it was because I was being told less of how to do something, and more of what to do? I'm not entirely sure.

Still, Waking Up was an amazing read. Though it did not dive into God-Christian relationships as I would've liked, there were some very well-thought points. One of the those that stuck with me the most was the reminder that God loves us in the way that He asks us to love others: Unconditionally, mercifully, trustingly.

Waking Up is a short and enlightening little read that I highly recommend. ☺

You may want to know: There is the brief mention of cannibals.

Click here to read my Goodreads review.

(Waking Up was written by Ted Dekker and published by Outlaw Studios; its copyright date is 2015.)



❤, the Book Dragon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF WAKING UP

{Source.}

Ted Dekker is known for novels that combine adrenaline-laced stories with unexpected plot twists, unforgettable characters, and incredible confrontations between good and evil. Ted lives in Austin with his wife LeeAnn and their four children.

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Est. 2016

Merikthorne Library was established November fifteenth, 2016.