The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha by Lloyd Alexander
Lloyd Alexander was one of my favorite young adult authors growing up. I still enjoy reading his works, although now I do find them a little formulaic. Lukas-Kasha is no exception to this. That being said, I would still recommend it to any young adult reader or enthusiast of Alexander’s work.
This book starts with a lazy, complacent main character who is content with staying lazy and complacent as the town bum. He is always hungry and gets into lots of scrapes, but he is too lazy to do anything with his life, until he runs into a mysterious magician who transports him to another world. In is land. Lukas is an emperor, pampered, well fed, and constantly in danger of assassination. He likes his new life at first, but quickly discovers that ruling a nation isn’t all feasts and fancy clothes. He escapes the palace with a very interesting slave girl, and his adventures really begin.
Like all Alexander novels, a wonderful band of misfits forms, and they journey together to discover their purpose and destiny. It is lively and fun, but a little predictable, although the ending was a surprise. It reminds me a lot of his Prydain books, especially in the parts where Lukas has to make big decisions about his life and the lives that are suddenly in his care. The biggest thing I like about Alexander is that he always makes his characters grow and learn. If you like young adult books, and especially if you like Alexander, I would recommend this book. However, it is not his best book, and if you want to read the real Alexander classics, you should start with The Book of Three and The black Cauldron.
Book review! The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha December 6, 2014
Review on Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi February 10, 2014
I read this book mostly because I love young adult literature, but also because on of my students is going to start reading it for class (which gave me a perfect excuse to gobble up this great piece of fiction).
I like Avi as a young adult author, although I cannot offhand remember any specific works of his that I have read before. I do have vague recollections of browsing the YA section of my library as a kid and picking up a few of his books.
Crispin is a great story, in the historical fiction genre. It is about a boy in the Middle Ages, after the time of the Black Death, in England. He lives in the small village of Stromford, as a poor widow’s son. He is shunned by his village, but does not know why, and when his mother dies, he is chased from the village after an unjust accusation. After this, he embarks on a journey to find safety, and in the process finds out who he truly is. It is fast paced, and extremely informative, with excellent information about the life and times of people in who lived then. Really my only complaint is that the ending was a bit anticlimactic.
I am excited to have my student read this, and also glad that I get to have an excuse to read good books for my job. I read this book in about 4 hours or so (stretched out over a couple of days). If you like the YA genre, you should definitely partake in this story.
Review on Rocannon’s World February 3, 2014
I finished reading Rocannon’s World by Ursula LeGuin. It is only 136 pages so it’s quite an easy read, but like all of her books that I have read, it is so rich. Reading her books is like eating a rich dessert. You have to go slowly because it is too full to gobble up, but by the time you reach the end, you are extremely satisfied. She has a beautiful ability to create a plausible world, complete with cultures, races, languages, and geography without overloading the reader with too much data. At the same time she is building this world, she is telling a story of a few people, or in this case, one person.
Rocannon, the title character, is a man from a league of worlds sent to study the cultures of a recently discovered unnamed planet. The world is inhabited by multiple races of people. They know that he is from another world, in fact, they call him Starlord, however they are still in the Bronze Age technology. While Rocannon is on this world, a race from another planet rebels against the League and takes refuge on the planet, killing his fellow researchers and destroying the lives of many people on the planet. He decides he needs to warn the League, and sets off to find the rebel group.
The majority of this story is Rocannon traveling with the group. It has a very “fellowship of the ring” feel to it, as he goes through many dangers, meets new people, and has an end goal in mind. However, it doesn’t deter from the richness of his character. LeGuin is very subtle in her character building. You don’t realize that she is creating such a full person until you finish the book and are sad to say good bye to this new person you have met. In that sense, this book is much like her others I have read. However, I could often tell it was her first novel. There were some abrupt transitions, and the ending was very sudden and short. That being said, I kind of like that I can see her improvement. It is encouraging to see improvement in writers, especially since I would love to be as good as her someday. Even as a first novel, this is spectacular, and if you are a sci-fi or fantasy reader, you definitely need to read this one. She is very good at blending science with more traditional fantasy.
That’s about it. I’ve started reading The Idiot by Dostoyevsky, however, don’t expect a review on that one anytime soon. Those Russian authors like to be wordy 😉
Practice Makes Perfect? March 26, 2013
Today I practiced reading and writing in Arabic for like three hours. And then I sent a picture of my writing to my friend who is going to help me to learn Arabic script better, and he said that it was good. There’s hope yet! Even more exciting was when I could read some of the Arabic words on my friend’s Facebook page! Granted, I don’t know what the words all mean, but I can read them and pronounce them!!!!! WOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!
I’m a nerd.