Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book Review - Cast in Shadow

Title: Cast in Shadow
Author: Michelle Sagara
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Luna; Original edition (August 1, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0373802366
ISBN-13: 978-0373802364
Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 1.2 inches

A story where words are not only mightier than the sword, but they are also capable of blowing up a building.

At the onset of puberty, Elianne discovers words like tattoos forming on her arms and legs. Then all hell breaks loose - children are being murdered and found with these same marks in the fief of Nightshade - her home - a rough, lawless, wrong-side-of-the-river place. Seven years after she escaped from Nightshade and found a home in the grand city of Elantra, Elianne, now called Kaylin Neya, finds that history is repeating itself.

This fantasy story, the first in the Chronicles of Elantra series, takes place in a beautifully described world with strange races and many problems. Kaylin is a Hawk, one of the three branches of service in the Halls of Law, in which she is part of the police force for the city. She is sent back into the heart of Nightshade to investigate the resurgence of these murders with former friend and current enemy, Severn. With the help of a Dragon lord and the Lord of Nightshade (a Barrani, an immortal, elf-like race, who are as arrogant and cold as they are beautiful), Kaylin must learn about the ancient language that makes up the marks on her body and the powers they give her in order to fight the evil that's searching for her.

While much of this story is made up of the fantastic, at its heart is the trauma of Kaylin's youth and how she struggles to overcome it. She is forced to face the past before she can move on to the present concerns. This story envelops the reader in its fantasy world, but what I found most compelling is Sagara's depiction of words and names and the power they can hold. In this place that power is tangible; it can both save a life and bring down walls (both figuratively and literally). Recommended.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The New Library World

A bar in the salon? Outdoor reading gardens? Discussions by celebrity chefs? That's my kind of library!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Own Private Hell

I got five books in the mail today from Amazon, and I have no time to read them!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Welcome Library Friends!

As some of my old readers know, I'm currently in grad school studying Library Science. For the next few months, you will see a lot more posts on books and school stuff - I promise, it will be far more interesting than my posts on the garden and the food I ate on vacation.

To my Readers' Advisory class: Hi! I'm Rachel - welcome to my little corner of cyberspace. It's not much, but it's mine. I started this blog when I got into grad school, which wasn't too long ago (this is only my second semester). Anyway, I hope my writing doesn't bore you!

Tonight in class Andrea asked a few people about books that affected them, that made an impact or had something about it that stuck with them. I started to think about where my love of reading began, and I've come up with a three-part conclusion.

1) When I was little, my mom used to take me to the library all the time and I would come home with stacks of books half as tall as I was, and we would read them together. And when I was old enough, I participated in our library's Book It! program and got things like a DQ cone or Pizza Hut pizza for reading books. I loved those books, but the bribes didn't hurt either.

2) When I was in elementary school, I read the Chronicles of Narnia. I got sooo involved in those books. It was the first time a book made me cry and it certainly got my imagination moving.

3) Finally, in high school, my mom got me a book series: The Mark of the Lion trilogy by Francine Rivers. It takes place in Jerusalem, Rome, and Germania around 70AD. The first two books follow the story of a Jewish-Christian slave girl and her Roman masters. The third book follows a gladiator and his journey back home after he wins his freedom in the arena.

I got excited about reading as a kid, and I still read occasionally until my teen years, but I was only a 'reader' not a 'reader.' But I've basically had a book glued to my hand since I read the Rivers' books. I was hooked, no turning back.

What book got you hooked?