Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pharaoh's Daughter by: Julius Lester

I saved my brother from the soldiers,
but the princess says he is hers now.
Abba and Ima will never trust me again.

Almah never imagined when her mother ordered her to go and take a watch for soldiers that she would meet the Pharaoh's daughter. She never would have believed that the Pharaoh's daughter would take in her little brother, Moses.

And she most certainly never thought that she and her mother would be asked to come and stay in Pharaoh's palace for a period of time.

As much as Almah's family does not wish to stay in the palace, they decide to accept anyway, because the Pharaoh's daughter has taken their son, and they want to be near him as long as possible.

Almah is there through the stress of Pharaoh's beloved wife passing on, and is his chief comfort as she has many similarities with his deceased spouse.

But when Almah is given the choice to either stay on in the palace or return to her home, there is no way for this situation to work out in a positive way. If she stays in the palace, where she finally feels alive, she will be dead to her family. And if she goes home, she will lose her quality of life and the love of the Pharaoh and his family.

The Pharaoh has feelings towards Almah, something most girls can only dream of, but will she except them?

Moses lives in the palace, raised by the Pharaoh's daughter. It was this woman, his adopted mother, that saved his life.

He is a happy boy, for his sister Almah is by his side at all times, ready to do anything for him, and he lives a life of luxury.

But the people of the palace do not trust him. The reason is clear: they could change his title, his family, and his beliefs, but they could not change who he really was. They are Khemetian. He is Habiru.

Because of this, Moses does not feel completely at ease. His identity is changed against his wishes, and he longs to uncover his true self. When he does, this time the answer to his problems is not something Almah can help him with. He must do it alone.

My thoughts:
This is the story of Moses, as you may have already guessed. But half is told from Moses' point of view, half from Almah's.
You have probably already read, or at least heard, the story of Moses. But I still highly reccomend this book! It puts the story into an entirely new light.

I have a feeling that if we're trying to be historically correct, Pharaoh did not fall in love with Moses' sister, but it does definitely add some colour.

I have certainly read worse books, but I have also read better. This is a thought-provoking read and I can almost guarantee you won't be sorry you read it. (I can't say the same to you boys out there, though. :)

Objectional Content:
Language: None that I remember.
Romance/Sexual Conent: Someone is in love with Pharaoh's daughter.
The Pharaoh loves Almah and wishes to marry her.
With Almah's job as priestess, she must dance naked. The description is not too vivid, but enough....

Violence: Moses kills someone. He is asked to whip someone, but he whips the man who asked him to instead.
Drugs/Alcohol: None that I remember.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Series Of Unfortunate Events: The Slippery Slope by: Lemony Snicket

In The Slippery Slope, we continue the story of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire. This is the tenth book in the series.

If you have not been following the series up until this point, I had better explain. (And if you have, then you'd better skip the next couple paragraphs.)

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are three unfortunate orphans whose parents died in a fire quite recently. Ever since Mr. Poe, who was in charge of placing them with a relative, came to them that cold, hard day to give them the news, their lives have been one sad event after another.

It all began with a man named Count Olaf, who was, apparently, the closest relative they had. But the Baudelaire children saw through his guise immediately. He only wanted their fortune. And when he found out he couldn't have it until the eldest was either sixteen or married, he attempted to marry her.

But Violet managed to escape from this slippery deal just in time, and she and her siblings were placed with another relative.

They weren't safe, though. Count Olaf found them again and continued his pursuit of stealing them away. But they outsmarted him - once again.

Ever since then, he has been out for revenge. Guardian after guardian have been fooled or killed by this vile villain, until finally the Baudelaires gave up on the people Mr. Poe was placing them with and began to rely on their own wit to survive.

In The Slippery Slope, we find the two eldest Baudelaires separated from their younger sibling, Sunny. She has been captured by Count Olaf. And they are on a quest to get her back. And once they rescue her, they hope to continue their search for their friends, the Quagmire triplets.

On the way there, they run into a person thought dead, the Volunteer Fire Department's burned down building, an icy slope, and the "False Spring Queen".

How could their circumstances do anything but improve? They are about to get much, much, much worse...

My thoughts:

I realize that this series is probably for kids much younger than myself, but somehow I still find myself always coming back to them.

Lemony Snicket has a very interesting writing style. It always makes me smile.

I love that Violet, Klaus, and Sunny each have their own talents. Violet is an inventor, Klaus is a researcher, and Sunny is a "biter". *smiles*

Why would I recommend this book? Well, to start with - I hope I don't put this wrong - but it's kind of a... "cute" book. It makes you think, it's funny, and the writing is very unique.

Objectional Content:

Language: None.

Romance/Sexual Content: There is a small hint at Violet and another boy having a crush on one another.

Violence: None that I remember.

Drugs/Alcohol: None.

8/10 stars
Ages: Eleven and up

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oryus by: Craig Gordon

A dream. A quest. A destiny.

Duncan's life has been one of secrets. He and his father, mother and brother have lived a sheltered life in Laynarra - the one city in Corandor that is untouched by the evils of the world. 

They do not associate with their neighbors, Duncan is not allowed to leave the town, and his father will tell him nothing. If it weren't for his mother, Duncan would probably not even be allowed to marry the woman he loves, a girl named Rhyelle.

But then everything changes.

Duncan has an encounter with Mahaylik - a man who calls himself a messenger for the Creator.

Mahaylik gives him instructions to go to Ruxallium.

It is a very puzzled Duncan that later confronts his father and tells him of the meeting.

Mahaylik told Duncan to ask his father one thing.

"Ask him if he knows how Toric fares."

And these simple words have more power than Duncan could ever imagine. His father, upon hearing them, tells Duncan to ignore the request and never even look at Mahaylik again.

But Mahaylik caused a stirring in Duncan's restrained heart.

His father would tell him nothing of the past, and refused to let him have much of a future.

Duncan has always questioned his secluded life, and now the chance has come for him to live life as it was meant to be.

But how can he leave his family and bride-to-be?

"Trust your heart, Duncan, not your head."

Despite everything, Duncan leaves his home for the first time in his life.

His eyes are opened to new things. Suffering ... and truth ... good ... and bad ...

His father always told him to trust no one ... but could his father only be saying these things to hide Duncan from his past?

On his quest, Duncan will meet Zaig the giant ... 

"Get your hands away from my neck or I'll snap you in two!"

... irresistible Fyfe, the Midni, who is constantly on end with Zaig ...

"Well done, Zaig! I did not know you could count that high!"

... Visuriun the sorcerer ...

"The only reason you are still alive is because I believe you may serve a purpose for me."

 ... and Blaithe son of Kohr - a worker for Mahaylik ...

Duncan discovers his entire family was killed during his absence ... and their blood is on his hands ... except his father and bride ... they are still alive ... and he finds himself on a mission to rescue them ...

... and then his calling is revealed ...

My thoughts:

This book is amazing!

To start with, the characters are all very likeable, the book is incredibly well-written, and the plot is unique.

We can all relate to Duncan. He is annoyed that his father keeps his past a secret from him, and he decides to go uncover his destiny. And, though at the time he doesn't know it, the Ceator is calling him to even higher purposes.

You will also love Duncan's bride-to-be, Rhyelle. She is so sweet!

I should probably warn any younger readers, there is a scene where Duncan and the sorcerer have an exchange while Duncan is in jail, and the sorcerer raises Duncan off the ground without moving a muscle. He also chokes Duncan by just moving a finger.

Objectional Content:

Language: No particular words. But they say things like, "he cursed."

Romance/Sexual Content:
- Duncan kisses his bride-to-be a couple times. (he also proposes to her in chapter three.)
- When the soldiers took Duncan's bride away, he worried once that they might violate her. They didn't.
- Someone hints at the queen betraying her husband. She did.
- Duncan's friend has a crush on the queen. It passes shortly. But he is later accused of violating her, and she lies and says it is true, even though he didn't.

Violence: A couple people are killed. There are fights.

Drugs/Alcohol: Duncan's dad is a winemaker.

9/10 stars.
Thirteen and up.