Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. - II Timothy 2:15

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Swing of Things

Hello all!

Now that the craziness of VBS (and the prep that goes with it) is over and I officially have the blues because of it, it's time to get back into the swing of things and pick up my life from the counter where I temporarily put it on hold.

Now if I could only remember what counter that was...

A few things that have happened while I was gone:

- I officially left my teen years behind me and turned 20 on July 17.

- I got a box of Mike and Ikes

- I started wearing makeup (house rule: makeup when you're twenty)

Hardest to tackle after nearly an entire month and a half off is writing. I thought I had a serious case of writer's block at first. Now I think that's folderol.

I'm just rusty.

Odd thing I didn't realize about writing: characters can lose their voices if you don't pay them attention. Now I get the fun job of rediscovering them. I'm putting myself on a write-as-much-as-possible regime to shake off the cramps I've garnered from my laziness.

And I'm going to blog again.

Won't that be fun?

Till next time!
(P.S. And I want that swing in the picture. Can you even
imagine how awesome that would be?!)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Review: The Singer of All Songs

3 out of 5
Recommended for: I really have no idea
Categories: YA/Fantasy/Easy reads/Reader friendly

Calwyn has lived all her life behind the high ice-wall that guards the sisters of Antaris from the world of Tremaris. The sisters practice ice chantment -- one of the Nine Powers of chantment, a form of magic worked through music. But when Calwyn finds an Outlander man fallen, wounded, through the wall, she is drawn to him ... and drawn into a wondrous, dangerous adventure that takes her outside the wall and to the limits of her own powers, as she, the Outlander Darrow, and others unite to defeat the sorcerer Samis, who seeks to claim all Nine Powers and become the Singer of All Songs. (Amazon)

I wish to state first and foremost that I am not and never have been a reader of fantasy. I've read The Chronicles of Narnia and fairy tales. I do not really enjoy fantasy. I do not like to write fantasy. In general, I spurn nearly the entire fantasy genre as unredeemable mind-candy. Thus I have no idea why I bought these two books when I found them for next-to-nothing at Goodwill.

Gradually they moved from the cardboard box of extra book storage to the top bookshelf (mainly because they are hardcovers and look better than a typical paperback). I intended to read them someday and that was where it stayed.
I brought this one camping with me and thought I'd give it a try. After reading the first few pages, I was unsure of whether or not I wanted to continue. There was a lot of mumbo-jumbo about a goddess and I felt that the reading level was rather low. However, I continued and was pleasantly surprised by the end.

My experience with fantasy is so limited that I can't say for sure whether or not the idea of a chanter is original or not. Basically, a chanter is a gifted human who, either through songs or the pitch of their voice, can do unusual and unnatural things such as create ice, call up wind, cut through walls, heal, stop or start motions in inanimate objects and so forth. Most chanters only have and only ever will have one power or chantment, as they're called in the book, so the idea of become a singer of all the songs is rather preposterous.

The book in general moves along at a good clip. It doesn't drag long over unnecessary details or contain much filler. It's simply written without much fuss made over a period-correct dialect. Aside from the discussions on chantment, the characters speak pretty ordinary English. The chapter endings are generally uncreative and abrupt, but since it's not lagging over useless plot lines, this doesn't really matter.
All in all, I was interested enough not to want to put it down for a long period of time and never ran across much of a reason to do so, since it's a very age-appropriate book. There's nothing at all suggestive or immodest about it. There's really only a promise of romance, which makes you more eager to read the next book and find out whether or not it buds.

The ending was my greatest peeve. It was rushed pell-mell and didn't make much sense. I found it so convoluted that I began to skim just to get it over with. Too much is revealed that should have been carefully distributed throughout the book and there are too many things happening at once with everyone practicing their different chantments that it makes it difficult to tell what is really going on. I would call it amateur for being so jumbled and then ending in such a disappointingly anticlimactic way.

Calwyn - Heroine and ice chanter
Calwyn is a very well-balanced heroine. She's not a damsel in distress but she's no Joan of Arc either. She's a very real girl who loses her temper and battles her fears and insecurities and is often confused by her surroundings and feelings. She doesn't always have the answer and doesn't always try to find it. She's endearingly human despite the hints of her less-than-ordinary destiny.

Darrow - Hero and ironcrafter
Darrow is a delightfully taciturn and puzzling character. He doesn't have much to say and what he does say is usually either mysteriously vague or dark and dire. It's the fact that he does very little explaining of himself that makes him such a fascinating person. I, however, find it difficult to believe the claim that he is near thirty years old.

Mica, Trout and Tonno - Girl, Boy, Man: the rest of the band
Mica is pretty awesome. I love her unquenchable spirit and never-flagging determination. Whenever the truth needs to be stated, she's there ahead of everyone.
Trout is odd yet amusing. He was the first character that really made me smile by saying something funny. His unique and critical outlook on life and his circumstances are typically the high humor points of the story.
Tonno is rather washed out for being such a predominant character. He's not a chanter, slightly too ordinary and very forgettable.

If this book was not part of a trilogy, I would have been very disappointed. However, the allure of a developing romance between two gifted individuals, Darrow's obviously hidden past, Calwyn's developing capacities and the quest for the union of Tremaris all make this a solid but probably the least interesting step into a promising direction.  

Till next time!