Category Archives: Three Stars
Sven is a war veteran who cannot yet lay down his arms because he still has to protect his family and friends from the evil forces in the Deluge lands. For a while, he has little to do and lives quietly with his youngest son, Fren but soon, chaos erupts and our war hero and his loved ones become the target of an evil tyrant Roland who wishes to absorb the essence of the evil night gods and take over the world for them. Now Sven and Fren must rise to protect their friends, battle mind-numbing sorcery, find Dason, Sven’s eldest son and leave the unsafe lands to a new location. But will all this prove to be too daunting? Will the forces of darkness prevail over the forces of light? Will our hero finally lay down his arms and find rest?
The Young by Nicholas Powter is an epic fantasy novel detailing the adventures of a brave war hero and his equally courageous son. The events in the book are set in medieval times in an imaginary land called The Deluge where fantastic beasts reign and cities within mountains prevail. And while Powter doesn’t spend much time giving intricate details of the surroundings, he makes sure to provide vital vivid images that still help us perceive man’s crude habits in those times. These images help set a perfect stage for the characters’ thrilling adventures.
Powter’s proficiency doesn’t end at setting a solid stage for his story, it also extends to his description of the characters in his book. He strikes a balance between showing us who the characters are through their actions and also having them tell us themselves and this helps to move the story along at a decent pace.
As the story moves along, Powter strings together events that pass few but very clear messages – you can’t miss them. We see ideas like the strength of the bonds of family and friendship and the power of courage as shown in Sven’s resolve to save his son and his friend’s wife. We also glean the themes of the continuous war between good and evil and man’s role in choosing which of these sides to submit to. Apart from these themes, two others also stand out. One relates to the categories of people most susceptible to deceit – the young or naïve, the overly curious, and the covetous – and the other is a soothing message that good will ultimately prevail if there are still people who believe in it and are ready to fight for it.
Powter might not be Tolkien or C.S Lewis but he surely did some things that caught my fancy. The story is kept simple and has no pointless detours. On top of this I found the story to be fairly imaginative. These two factors made the book a decent read on the whole even though I felt the narration could have been more engaging.
Karl’s future assumed a bleak outlook after he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at the age of twenty. For many, at this age, life was just beginning, the world was at their feet and their dreams were there for the taking but for Karl, the disease he was diagnosed with was a likely precursor to a life of pain and struggles. He would later find himself popping anti-psychotic pills for forty straight years in an attempt to douse the incurable effects of schizophrenia and live the closest thing to a normal life. Tired of having to still deal with the symptoms of the disease and the side effects of the drugs, he chooses to slowly get off his medications in the hope of finding healing elsewhere. How will this decision affect him and his family?
Good Life to Perfection Perception by Karl Lorenz Willett is the autobiography that reveals the hardships involved in living with a mental illness and also shows the humanity of a man plagued by something beyond his control. Karl is downright honest and raw as he uncovers his thought processes, ideas, failings and victories. This book is definantly emotional, or at least I was emotional when reading this book. Emotions like passion, pain and pleasure are some emotions explored in this spirited book. I was both touched and intrigued by his candor and courage.
Karl doesn’t simply present himself as a victim of circumstance, rather, he shows that despite his limitations, he can think critically and hold personal views. For instance, in the book, he shares his beliefs about the possibility of there being a better way to handle mentally ill individuals without placing them on anti-psychotic drugs for the rest of their lives. He also expresses his thoughts on religion, societal ills and world peace. At a point, I nearly mistook him for an ancient Greek philosopher, no kidding.
While I appreciated the story, and the courage with which it is told, the book could benefit greatly from a thorough edit. A good editor could clean up the grammar errors and organize the story so that it is more coherent. As is, I had to reread some sections to ensure I understood what was being said.
While the author touched on many issues, his major focus was on telling the story of how schizophrenia impacted his life. He shed light on the difficulties he had like how it was impossible for him to hold down a job, the constant pain he felt, the cognitive limitations he had and many more. I was moved the most by his struggle with empathic distress, a condition that made watching the news and seeing all the sad events unhealthy for him. All in all, seeing these issues from the perspective of a patient of schizophrenia increased my ability to empathize with patients of mental illnesses.
Pages: 293 | ASIN: B084GZT9BP
Literature can be a powerful tool for delving deep into hot button issues and writer J.R Penna tackles a variety of highly contentious issues with true depth with the novel Who Am I.
The story’s main characters are Rita and Rosa, who are dealing with an unexpected pregnancy. The focus does not just stay on how two very different women handle the same situation; the main storyline of Who Am I is the repercussions of religious dogma and hate-filled activism.
Penna’s disdain for a certain religious views can not be missed, however, his writing is not just to strike down those with a narrow view of right and wrong, he also offers in-depth thoughts of depression, family values, family relationships and controversial rhetoric about Jesus and the Bible.
Rita and Rosa’s stories are both compelling and layered and as a reader, I root for both of them. But, there are some curveballs in this telling. Some of Rit’as development is more than a little jarring, although I enjoyed the end of her story.
Where I felt the story lost its glamour is in the narrative and writing style. While Penna pens some very thoughtful and insightful prose, there are pages and pages of dialogue that is only about religious views and what is wrong with conventional faith. It seemed like every person was anxious to have a deep physiological discussion when meeting someone.
For a story that offers a lot of thought on deeply complex issues like depression, and accepting yourself, the plot gets lost in a less than natural tone. Rita wastes no time telling anyone her personal issues in any situation. Rosa is a young teen who, initially comes across as a naive girl, but later delivers long paragraphs of philosophical conundrums like a theological professor.
That being said, Who Am I offers some very interesting and thoughtful ideas and points of view that should not be dismissed.
Pages: 247 | ASIN: B07X4ZBZ36