July 29, 2014

A Fortune Teller Told Me by Tiziano Terzani

What would you do if you were a journalist and told that you shouldn't travel by plane for an entire year?  Would you heed the warning, or would you continue to do as you please for your jobs sake.  Terzani decided to heed the warning and since he still needed to make a living, traveled around Asia and Europe any way but by plane.

After a fortune teller tells him that he shouldn't travel by plane, Terzani decides to make an exploration not only of Asia, but also of the different seers and fortune tellers that are found in each of the countries he visits.  He wants to see how accurate they are and whether or not they'll echo the warning against flight like the original.  Along his journeys he also comments on how the different countries have changed, what the leadership is like, how the people live, and the difficulties of travel in each country.

Terzani is a somewhat mixed narrator.  For some people he shows the utmost respect and describes kindly, others he shows nothing but disdain.  And honestly, those two categories kind of merged all the people together for me as all the ones he liked had the same attributes and all the ones he didn't had the same attributes so they didn't seem like as many people as what he actually met.  And then there was his wife.  Despite his constant mention of her I still didn't feel as if I knew that much about her.  Himself he doesn't really describe other than to relate what the fortune tellers say about him.

I found this book excruciatingly repetitive.  While at first it was interesting after awhile I got tired of him describing going to a fortune teller and having his fortune read.  The countries, people and places might as well have all be the same for me and it slowed down the pace dramatically.  That's not to say he isn't a good writer.  He has a clear way of writing and there is a substantial amount of detail.  It was just slow moving and didn't capture my interest despite the fact that it should have been an interesting topic.  The pace was also weird in that the first half the book only captured two months of the year while the second half captured the rest of the year.  I think had it been drawn out more evenly it might have been a little more interesting.

I can't say that I'd recommend this book to anyone unless they really liked mysticism with a little hint of travel.  There was just too much of the same story in the book.

A Fortune Teller Told Me
Copyright 1997
367 pages

July 15, 2014

Look Again by Lisa Scottoline

The first couple of nights I spent reading this book I was at the edge of my seat, eager to find out what happened next.  Then, about half way through, that completely changed and the book quickly spiraled downward for me.  As a first experience of Scottoline's books, I'm not sure what to think.

Ellen is perusing through her mail when she stops at a missing child card and notices how similar the boy in the picture looks to her own adopted son.  With it in her mind all day, she starts investigating the story of the missing boy and re-digs through the adoption process she went through and starts uncovering missing information and story holes.  With her boss and deadlines looming over her, leads that go nowhere, and a coworker who wants her job, Ellen has enough things to distract her let alone be consumed with the thought that her son really isn't her son.

Ellen was ok.  I think a lot of the things she did in this book weren't really plausible.  And I found her workplace a little weird as well with the interactions that happened there.   Not the backstabbing by coworkers, I've heard that that happens quite often, but the questioning of personal time and sick time.  Her son was much more believable than her, but that's because he was a young kid and either happily doing some activity, whining, or throwing a temper tantrum.  Which is pretty true to form for that age.  The rest of the characters I didn't really find that believable.  Too much drama and complicated plotting.

Complicated plotting actually summarizes the story quite well.  The initial premise draws you in, but then as things start to come together everything becomes befuddled.  Without giving too much away I have to say that the ending was rendered a little too happy and easy and fairy tale when reality would have probably been much different.  Everything just fell together too easy.  And the romance that was added in seemed awkward and out of place.  I did like the level of detail that was given to everything.  Little clues were everywhere and since the main character was a journalist, there were even "articles" to be read in the book as well and she did investigative reporting.

Overall, not a fantastic book, but it wasn't terrible.  I can't say I'll be running out for more of Scottoline's books anytime soon as a result of reading this one, but I wouldn't swear her off completely.

Look Again
Copyright 2009
377 pages

July 09, 2014

Lady of Avalon

Lady of Avalon is one of the books in the Mists of Avalon series.  That being said, it doesn't seem to matter what order you read these books in.  They jump around in time and were written in random order so they all can stand on their own.  It does help to have read Mists of Avalon for some of the background stories, but it is not necessary.

Lady of Avalon tells the stories of three of the High Priestesses of Avalon.  There is Caillean, who left the Forest House to start a new life for the order in Avalon and her struggles with keeping it safe from the outside world.  Dierna, who loses her sister but gains another and wishes for Avalon and Britain to be protected from Roman rule.  And Viviane, who will orchestrate the birth of Arthur and see him made High King over the land.  All three women have their struggles and opposition despite their strong will to do what they believe best for Britain.

All of these women are strong women, stubborn, prideful, and thinking they know what's best ultimately leads to their downfall.  It happens in every single book.  You would think there would be one who is meek and mild, but there's not.  So I guess only a certain type of person is called into the role of a Lady of Avalon.  The other characters live to support them as well.  It doesn't matter who the other priestesses are, sometimes the druids are rarely mentioned by name, and you can tell the ultimate focus is on these women.  Which is fine, it is their story.  But it'd be nice to see them through the eyes of others more often than you do.

It does seem a theme that nothing ever goes as plan.  This carries across all the books.  And it makes you wonder why their Goddess keeps pressing them to do these things if it isn't working.  Or that a more active role could be taken to preserve the knowledge and keep the faith alive rather than setting a path and letting each person screw it up in their own way.  Just once I would have liked to have seen them succeed and I never really feel as if they do.  I'd also like more back story on the past lives they live as it is mentioned here and there in the books but never really fully expanded on.  But for all my complaining it is still a compelling story and does provide a lot of history for those who have read the other books.  You want to see Avalon, to step through the mists and learn the Mysteries.  So great detail in making you believe the book.

Not a bad one but it certainly isn't as developed as the original book in the series.  I do plan on continuing to read the other books though to have all my questions (hopefully) answered.

Lady of Avalon
Copyright 1997
456 pages