Posts Tagged ‘Book 3’

In the first two novels, Emily and Navin lose their father and are forced to move to a mysterious house in a distant town. Emily comes across a magical amulet that opens a door to a new and unusual world. Having taken on the responsibility of the amulet, Emily finds that this new world is in need of her help as a powerful and tyrannical Elf King seeks to make life miserable for the residence of Alledia.

Story overview:
Having gotten her mother back to her old self, Emily is convinced by her fox companion, Leon, to seek out the lost city of the Guardian Council’s Stonekeepers, Cielis.

Learning that Cielis’ possible whereabouts is in the sky (from a book written by Emily’s great-grandfather), Leon seeks out an airship pilot to take them to the center of an unending storm.

With the Elf King’s son as an unusual companion, our group of adventurers seek to locate Cielis before the Elf King can put a stop to it.

My thoughts:
I enjoyed the Star Wars cantina parody. It was obviously intentional, even the reference to the captain’s ship being small and junky, but fast. At the end of the novel, it says that Kibuis finds inspiration in Star Wars and with Hayao Miyazaki. Perhaps that’s why I like this story so much; I’m a huge fan of both. The worst part is waiting for the next book to come out to see what will happen next.

Things to consider:
This series remains consistent in its rating. Good for preteens and older. Very little can be considered questionable or inappropriate.

Opportunities for discussion:
There’s a scene where the pilot is forced to land and refuel his airship on a platform owned by a woman he has issues with. After landing, it becomes evident that she too doesn’t want to see him. By the end, however they make up and restore a prior bond. We can take a lesson from them. It doesn’t have to be a thing just between men and women. This goes for relationships of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they suffer for one reason or another, but when given a chance at reconciliation, relationships can be restored and the feelings of relief that follow might surprise you. Consider Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV) “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Ask your children if there is anyone they need to work things out with. From there, try to see if there’s hope of reconciliation. Of course, if the relationship is destructive, then sometimes they are better ended than continued. That’s when Matthew 18:15-17 comes into play.

Past reviews in this series:
1) The Stonekeeper (Amulet, Book 1)
2) The Stonekeeper’s Curse (Amulet, Book 2)

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In my review of the second book, I said “Sequels are often a disappointment, but The Golem’s Eye succeeds where others have failed.”

That statement is even more fitting for this third and final installment. I will go so far as to say that this book is the best of all three.

So far in the series, twelve-year-old Nathanial went from being raised by a petty and unloving wizard to defeating another rogue wizard who used the Amulet of Samarkand. A few years after that, Nathanial went on to take position at Internal Affairs, uncover yet another plot that involved a Golem and Gladstone’s staff, and found himself being saved by one of the last two remaining survivors of the Resistance. All with the aid of a sarcastic djinni named Bartimaeus.

Story overview:

Nathanial is now seventeen-years-old and has grown into a young man. With this come increased responsibilities as he is now the Information Minister. As prestigious as that sounds it mainly entails putting together pamphlets and other forms of propaganda to entice civilians to join the wizard’s war against America (one that is going poorly). In doing so he becomes even more cold and indifferent, especially to Bartimaeus whose essence is nearly depleted from having to stay in the human world for so long.

It seems that something deep inside of Nathanial cannot let go of Bartimaeus, who is one of the few reminders of the days when Nathanial used to be a caring lad. It takes a visit to his old school teacher and a face-to-face encounter with the supposedly dead Kitty for him to see what he has become. About the time he realizes this, Nathanial finds himself facing the man behind all the previous plots from the first two books.

The plan is to let spirits take possession of each wizard’s body. This way the wizard would have limitless power. The mastermind failed to realize that this only allowed the spirit to take full control, and soon the land finds an army of angry beings wanting revenge for hundreds of years of enslavement. Nathanial acquires a good partner in Kitty as they both attempt to find a way to save the people: Nathanial to obtain Gladstone’s staff and the Amulet of Samarkand, and Kitty to use Ptolemy’s Gate to enter the other-place and gain Bartimaeus’s favor as an ally of freewill.

My thoughts:

This story is candy for readers. I absolutely loved this series and this volume had me glued to the pages, filled with excitement, and not disappointed with the results (though I could have used a happier ending). I’m glad that Nathanial found his redemption, and that both he and Kitty developed a close bond. My only complaint is that this series has come to an end; I have grown so fond of it that this idea is a little depressing, so enjoy it while it lasts.

Things to consider:

There are some disturbing elements, but nothing beyond what is appropriate for this tale. The closest “inappropriate” situation is when Kitty summons Bartimaeus, who chose the form of a scary demon without clothing. Actually, this is done quite humorously and it is a laugh to see Kitty’s response, but the scene does have potential to be a little questionable. That is, if the reader takes it beyond the lighthearted intentions. Also, parents need to be clear that the “spirit” element of this story is fictional; they need to inform their children about the differences between these fantastical elements verses real-world ones. I can see some Christians holding picket signs and yelling accusations against this, but that’s the point of this blog: to thwart this kind of ignorant behavior. I stick to my series rating, preteen (tween) and older. Not gender specific.

Opportunities for discussion:

A main topic in this story is the risk of one losing their morals to the pressures of fitting into the mold of society. A Christian message you might add? Indeed so. Ask your children if they have ever compromised their morals for the sake of fitting in, then ask them how that made them feel.

Past reviews in this series:

1) The Amulet of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1)
2) The Golem’s Eye (The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 2)

InkdeathIn the first book, Inkheart, we had twelve-year-old Meggie Folchart learn about her father’s amazing ability to read things out of books. Unfortunately one of these things was the evil Capricorn who captures her father in an attempt to force him to do his will. This story takes place entirely in the “real world.”

Next we had Inkspell, where Farid convinced Meggie to read them into the book “Inkheart” so that he could see Dustfinger again. Joining them shortly after is Mo and Teresa, who get there by means of Orpheus. They learn about The Adderhead and Mo is forced to make him immortal. This story takes place mostly in the “Inkworld.”

Now we have the conclusion to the Inkheart Trilogy. This tale takes place mostly in the “Inkworld,” but we jump back and forth to the “real world” to see what’s happening to Elinor and Darius.

Story overview:

Fenoglio may have stopped writing, but Orpheus has taken over where Fenoglio left off. However, the things Orpheus creates are less than ideal. The Folchart’s (Meggie, Mortimer & Teresa) are now living with the Black Prince and his gang of robbers, with Mo fulfilling the role of the Bluejay as the prince’s right-hand man. Farid on the other hand is working with Orpheus until the man can bring Dustfinger back from the dead.

Orpheus tricks Mo to call on The White Women and Mo finds himself making a deal with Death (who happens to be the same Death in all worlds) to kill The Adderhead whom he had made immortal. The price of failure is the death of him, his daughter, and Dustfinger whom was allowed to return to help with the task.

The Adderhead’s daughter, Violante helps Mo in an attempt to kill her tyrannical father. Things don’t work out as planned and it comes down to Fenoglio’s words verses Orpheus’s as they battle against each other from opposite sides of the kingdom.

My thoughts:

Having liked Inkheart, and even more so Inkspell, I was very disappointed with this one. I think the story is OK, it is just extremely drawn out in long and boring scenes, tons of back story, and the reader is in and out of so many character heads that it is bound to make our own head spin. It wasn’t until Chapter 25 that I actually started to get into the story, and then a few chapters later it started to lose me again. Cornelia did to Inkdeath what Paolini did to Brisingr, however I was less bored with Brisingr. That said, I still recommend reading it if you have started the series. It had a satisfying ending and filled in most of the loose ends. Keep in mind that some of my distastes may be coming more from the author in me than the reader in me.

Things to consider:

This story is quite a bit on the darker side than the other two. I would age rate this a little higher than the others (making it Teens instead of Tweens,) partly because of the presence of sexual references (such as Orpheus and his maids,) but mostly because I think it would bore a younger audience. Among the typical cursing from the other books, there’s a lot more death; some of them in disturbing scenes where children are brutally killed.

Opportunities for discussion:

Of course the theme of playing God and the problems therein still stands from the other books, but I also came away with a strong sense of: life is pain. It can seem a little depressing at times, but keep in mind that this is a good time to talk to your teen about pain and life. In the story, there’s a great feeling that in death there is great peace. Life is pain, to die is gain. A Bible verse comes to mind: Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” This is a good time to talk to your kids about the afterlife, and what you believe is the right path. Also talk to them about life on earth; how they are living in a fallen world. Tell them that there will be times of joy and times of sorrow, and that it is our mission to work and live the life we’ve been given as best we can. However, our longings are not in vein, as we were made for something better and will one day be home. Another discussion point could be about identify, and that we are who we are regardless of what other’s make of us or try to make us into.

Past reviews in this series:

1) Inkheart (Inkheart Trilogy, Book 1)
2) Inkspell (Inkheart Trilogy, Book 2)

BrisingrAfter Eragon and Eldest comes the 3rd book in the Inheritance Cycle, Brisingr. Originally designed to be the final book in the series, Paolini decided to go a little further and plan on a fourth book.

Named after the first word Eragon learns in the Ancient Language, which means “fire,” Brisingr becomes a significant part of Eragon’s arsenal (I won’t spoil it, you’ll have to read to find out.) 

I question Paolini’s decision to break into four novels. Why? Because Brisingr is very slow in places and sometimes seems to just drag on, particularly towards the middle. It could have easily been cut down by deleting a lot of the unnecessary political stuff–this was written for kids right? I can see them easily getting bored with those parts.

Story overview: 

As mentioned in my review of the last book, Roran’s fiancé, Katrina, was captured. Brisingr starts out with Eragon and Roran infiltrating the Ra’zac’s fortress. After rescuing her and killing every last creature, Eragon is faced with determining the fate of Katrina’s father, who had who betrayed Carvahall.

Arya eventually meets up with Eragon (who was separated from Saphira (his dragon)). They return to the Varden where he reunites with Saphira, attempts to restore the curse on Elva, and tries to locate a new sword. After fighting off Murtagh and his dragon, Thorn, the Varden learn that the enemy is using an army that does not feel pain–A trick of Galbatorix. After the wedding of Roran and Katrina, Nasuada (the Varden leader) sends Eragon off on a mission of diplomacy to assist in choosing a new dwarf king, who is hopefully sympathetic to the Varden’s cause.

Eragon then goes with Saphira to Ellesméra to extend his training from Oromis and Glaedr. He learns the fate of his father, obtains a new sword, and rushes out to meet up with the Varden–whom Roran has been fighting with all this time–as they lay siege to a city that is under the control of Galbatorix. A new Shade arises in his path while his master fights a distant battle, and in the end, those left standing prepare to march to Belatona and from there the next city until they come to the fortress of Galbatorix.

My thoughts: 

Where I lost some appeal for the series between Eragon and Eldest, I lost a bit more between Eldest and Brisingr, but not enough to dissuade me from reading the fourth book when it comes out. I actually liked some of the slow political stuff, but as I said, it’s probably not so appealing to a younger crowd. There were times when I felt like giving up, and the beginning took me some time before I got into the story, but I forced my way through the thick waters just long enough for it to take shape. I liked seeing how the relationship between Arya and Eragon starts to take on a different shape, and how there still seems to be some redeeming hope for Murtagh.

Things to consider: 

If you’ve read Eldest, then you may think that Paolini insists on having Eragon become an atheist like the elves. However, Eragon is exposed to the culture of the dwarfs and sees some amazing things. The thought of a deity becomes a possibility in his mind. I don’t know how this will end, but it seems that there is some hope. Like the first two books I rate this for pre-teens +, with it leaning more towards boys. Lots of violence, but little to no swearing or sexual situations. The “Trial of Long Knives” may be a bit too disturbing for some kids.

Opportunities for discussion: 

Talk to your kids about free will. In this story, if a person possesses another’s true name, then they have control over them to make them do whatever they want. Murtagh, for example, is doing the bidding of Galbatorix by these means. Many people think that this is what Christianity is about, but it’s quite the opposite. God gave mankind a free will, free to follow or free to walk away. God wants us to chose to love and chose to follow, he is not a tyrant like Galbatorix that forces an unwilling heart. Share with your kids this type of freedom.

Past reviews in this series:

1) Eragon (Inhertitance, Book 1)
2) Eldest (Inheritance, Book 2)