lavivi: scan from Hellsing manga of Integra and Alucard (Default)
I briefly considered entering this journal for a Most Neglected Journal award, then realized I would lose.  Nevertheless, I feel really, really guilty.

It's not like I haven't had anything to update, either.  I've written and posted fic.  I have to, um, figure out what the last thing I posted here was - Mischief Managed

Well, there's been two more posted Hellsing things:
  • Afternoon Off, written last summer and not posted until this April because that's just how I do things.  It was written as a present for Jean, to match an amusing (but wonderful) picture she drew.
  • Sunday Morning Wake-Up (I want my title inspiration BACK): a v. short scene of mine and a very beautiful picture of Jean's.
Annnnd back to Harry Potter, I've joined [profile] redandthewolf, a community for Remus and Lily, shipped or otherwise.  I'm oddly excited about it, and submitted a story for their first challenge.  My first challenge!fic!  But I'm awfully un-proud of it, hence why it hasn't been posted here on fanfictionDOTnet yet.  However, I will link it here now - I called it Never Spoken, Never Forgotten.

Now [profile] redandthewolf is having their second challenge, and as I was looking over their prompts I got really excited and wrote some down as well as a start of five hundred words.  So you'll hear more about that.  Eventually.

And yeah, I haven't forgotten about nightmare-story or any of my other long-suffering (srsly) WIPs.  They're...among my priorities.

Also, it seems like I've given up my SOS reviews, since I read Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lecter trilogy, loved it to pieces, and didn't review them.  Meh.  Well, SOS does stand for Supply of Sanity (or was it Store of Sanity?), created in a time of great need which I am fortunately no longer in. 

Now, want to know the real reason for this entry?

Like many, I've been re-reading all the Harry Potter books in preparation for the seventh; right now I'm in chapter eight of the fifth book.  But just a little earlier tonight I was in chapter seven, "The Ministry of Magic," closely reading the descriptions of all the floors in the Ministry (which I think are the coolest thing, y'know).  And I got to Level Three, which is the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes including the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, Obliviator Headquarters, and Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee.

Like a lot of things in Ms. Rowling's world, the obvious and most practical purpose a name suggests is not necessarily what it actually is.  Some things are silly and ridiculous or just odd.  In the names of the Ministry offices particularly, there seem to be a lot of hidden jokes.  So I puzzled over this - do they handle lame excuses from law-breaking wizards/witches, and the name is a deliberate insult to Muggles?  Is this a committee which actually creates Muggle-worthy excuses for other magical departments or whatever?  And then it hit me: it's a committee that creates excuses to present to the Muggles involved in magical catastrophes or accidents.

Once grasped, I knew this had to be one of the most brilliant jobs in the wizarding world.  Also, the committee must be almost entirely made up of Muggle-borns.

All day they receive news of catastrophes/accidents and invent the most plausible excuses for them Muggles would understand/believe.  They must have to stay up on Muggle technology, for excuses about gas lines and, y'know, technology, and wow.  Ooh, the fics that could be written about this committee.  Seeing how it has to be almost entirely Muggle-born, it could also be the headquarters of a secret Muggle-born society, for whatever purpose you like, etc.
lavivi: scan from Hellsing manga of Integra and Alucard (Default)

Later, I will make a list of words I hideously overuse when writing and for which I need to find a variety of appropriate substitutes..
lavivi: scan from Hellsing manga of Integra and Alucard (Matilda with books)
Have just noticed that I've been befriended by [profile] harryhunting, which is apparently a journal associated with slashcast that watches random journals "looks around the Harry Potter fandom for up-to-date information on the books, the movies, and what everyone in the fandom is saying in relation to slash."  Am a bit bemused, as the only entry I have here that pertains to slash is, I think, my Remus/Sirius drabble.  Perhaps also my old analysations of the fifth book got noticed as well?

Anyway.  Current writing status: I really, really, really want to write and I currently have a million projects and it's even difficult to tell what's top priority (either nightmare-story or my Hellsing dungeon scene, I think).  Nothing has a frickin' title.  It's just a matter of getting around to it.

The real point of this entry, however, is an SOS over the first three books of the Temeraire series.  The reviews are rife with spoilers and quotes, so it's all going under a cut.


On the whole, I recommend them to EVERYONE.
lavivi: scan from Hellsing manga of Integra and Alucard (quote for book reviews)
Another much-delayed SOS. *winces*
  • Flowers in the Attic:  Firstly, I must say that I love the cover to pieces.  I do.  I have made icons out of the cover.  Now, as for the book itself - it has been quite a while since I have read a book so badly written, it is true.  It was written in first-person narration, but that is no excuse, really - the dialogue and actual actions were all excessively dramatic and unrealistic.  Oh, especially the dialogue.  Perfectly ridiculous.
    So, there is the question now why I was never tempted to toss it aside, or really had to force myself to keep going, and even why I stayed up really late some nights because I didn't want to put it down.
    There was definitely a v. romantic element to it all - besides the whole relationship between the brother and sister, obviously.  But I was v. anxious to see what would happen to them, especially between Christopher and Cathy - yes, I was rather looking forward to a certain scene and how it would come about. 

  • Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays:  Ooh, I've wanted to read Oscar Wilde for ages (still want to read The Portrait of Dorian Gray) and a most wonderful friend gave me this book of his plays.  I finished it in very short order.
    First, there was Salomé, and that was v. interesting.  The beginning threw me off because it didn't seem to be...good...but I assumed that, like Shakespare, it was meant to be acted rather than read.  But it did get more interesting toward the end.  Especially the very end.
    Then there was Lady Windermere's Fan, and ooh, that was really good.  I liked how it started off so humorous and light but turned out to be so very serious.  Extremely well done, v. touching too.  Now for a quote:

    Dumby: Good-evening, Lady Stutfield.  I suppose this will be the last ball of the season.
    Lady Stutfield: I suppose so, Mr. Dumby.  It's been a delightful season, hasn't it?
    Dumby: Quite delightful!  Good-evening Duchess.  I suppose this will be the last ball of the season?
    Duchess of Berwick: I suppose so, Mr. Dumby.  It has been a very dull season, hasn't it?
    Dumby: Dreadfully dull!  Dreadfully dull!
    Mrs. Cowper-Cowper: Good evening, Mr. Dumby.  I suppose this will be the last ball of the season?
    Dumby: Oh, I think not.  There'll probably be two more.

    Lastly, The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious PeopleHee, yes, it was v. light and trivial, as he said.  Entertaining; I liked the way it turned out and everything fit together; but I actually think I like Lady Windermere's Fan more.
    After reading both of the last two, I was left with a certain, educated impression of the high Victorian social class that I quite appreciated.  Was intriguing.

  • Stardust:  My first (of what will surely be many) Neil Gaiman book!  Was extremely impressed with just about everything about it - from the writing style to the plot and the characters.  The plot, especially, left an impression as being practically flawless - everything woven together exactly right, with the introduction of all the players and how they are each finished off.  I loved how the love was there, but it was understated and so simply done; and how everything wound down.  I was afraid at first that it would be melodramatic and cliche and Sue-ish after all, but then he did it in such an amusing manner, it was perfect.  The humor, too, was so simple.  But I've already recommended it to both of my parents, and to anyone.
    I was surprised, in the introduction, that it was originally set in a "real" place, in England, though it later made good sense.  I was also initially surprised by the description of the two sex scenes (well, only really surprised by the first, of course) - it just seemed like in that kind of fantasy book, it's really meant for children.  And then, of course, the single use of "fuck."  But I did love the introduction and how everything was set up.  Beautifully done.
    A couple quotes:

    First the light in the sky was no bigger than the moon, then it seemed larger, infinitely larger, and the whole grove trembled and quivered and every creature held its breath and the fireflies glowed brighter than they had ever glowed in their lives, each one convinced that this at last was love, but to no avail....
    And then -
    There was a cracking sound, sharp as a shot, and the light that had filled the grove was gone.
    Or almost gone.  There was a dim glow pulsing from the middle of the hazel thicket, as if a tiny cloud of stars were glimmering there.
    And there was a voice, a high clear, female voice which said, "Ow," and then, very quietly, it said, "Fuck," and then it said "Ow," once more.
    And then it said nothing at all, and there was silence in the glade.

    "Then," said Yvaine, picking her words with care, "you are not marrying Tristran Thorn?"
    "No," said Victoria.
    "Oh," said the star.  "Good."  And she sat down again.
lavivi: scan from Hellsing manga of Integra and Alucard (quote for book reviews)
A couple things - writing update, and a book review.  Not really SOS, but it must be reviewed all the same.

In the past ten days...well, I wrote some more of that second Hellsing one-shot, coming very close to the end, though I am still heavily dissatisfied with it.  Then I started - and finished - a third Hellsing one-shot.  It's the written perspective of the scene in which Integra meets Alucard.  I used a written transcript of it from the anime, that a very awesome friend made for me, so the dialogue and action is extremely canon - except in a couple places where I deliberately disregard it.  But that cannot be helped.

This third scene - hereafter known as "The dungeon scene" until I find a more official name for it - was written, like the others, in longhand, and will be typed up shortly - but I estimate it to be at least five thousand words. 

I am extremely, extremely pleased with it.

The beginning, it is true, is iffy, but I believe I can clear it up, because it grows to be very, very good.  It ended up going a little farther than I originally planned, but I think it's okay, and I definitely do like the ending.

After writing it, I realized all the more that the second one - simply known, right now, as "Walter vs. Integra," although it is not at all about them set against each other - they merely have a conversation, directly after The funeral scene - I realized that this second one will definitely have to be re-written heavily.  I think I can still salvage something of it, though.  We will see.

Meanwhile, I have gotten back the beta-ing on The funeral scene, and expect to make all the corrections very soon.  However, as there are many of them, I want to send it again to her for a second round, if she doesn't mind.

Now, the book review:

Profiles in Courage: It was not chosen by me to read for pleasure, I'll say that.  But, considering how it is about politics, it was not very bad at all for me - not even that hard to read.  The majority of it is a study on different United States senator, from John Quincy Adams to Robert Taft, who displayed astounding courage in their office.  Some parts were quite interesting, even - nearly all were persuasive.  I was reminded how Massachusetts is one of the most amusing states - it was started by Puritans and later condemned by them, then actually passed a law declaring it would be a criminal act if someone followed a federal law (the Fugitive Slave Act) - and now all the present gay issues. 

A few quotes, now:

"Necessity compels me to speak true rather than pleasing things....  I should indeed like to please you; but I prefer to save you, whatever be your attitude toward me."

My favorite profile was the one of Thomas Hart Benton.  He enchanted me from the beginning by his apparent idiosyncrasy of saying "sir" every few words.  Such as:

[When asked if he had known Andrew Jackson] "Yes, sir, I knew him, sir; General Jackson was a very great man, sir.  I shot him, sir.  Afterward he was of great use to me, sir, in my battle with the United States Bank."

And this, as well:

(The leathery quality of his skin was in part the result of a daily brushing with a horsehair brush "because, sir, the Roman gladiators did it, sir."  When asked if the brush was truly rough, he would roar: "Why, sir, if I were to touch you with that brush, sir, you would cry murder, sir!")

And lastly:

"When Benton heard of Foote's threat that he intended to write a small book in which l'affaire Benton would play a leading role, Benton replied: "Tell Foote that I shall write a very large book in which he will not figure at all!" (And he did.)
lavivi: scan from Hellsing manga of Integra and Alucard (quote for book reviews)

Three books this time - two of which are terribly delayed.

The Penultimate Peril - book the twelth of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Under a cut for a good friend of mine who hasn't read it yet. )

  • Atlas Shrugged: ...There's so much to say, of course.  But first and foremost, I must say that this is a brilliant book.  Ayn Rand is definitely one of the most brilliant authors I've ever read.  This doesn't mean she's one of my favorites, only that I recognize the mind that created this book.
    The excellence of this book is made up of two parts: one, the philosophy Ayn Rand is presenting.  This covers all the details about government and business and personal ethics and morals.  It's amazing, really, how thorough it is, how her philosophy covers every aspect of a person's life.  Extremely persuasive, with almost perfect realism.
    The second part of the excellence is the characters and smaller plot.  That's one of the things about the book that is so truly amazing - she's so good at both government, business, and philosphy, and also people.  That's what makes it brilliant.
    I grew to love Dagny, I did.  I love Francisco second-best, and Eddie Willers, and Hank Rearden, and then Dagnar Ranneskjold (hey, I actually remembered how to spell that without looking it up). 
    ...Which brings me to SHIPPING.  Of course.  Forget the deep philosophical meaning - it's time for shipping.
    Francisco was my favorite of the men, it's true, and I liked Dagny/Francisco - but I think my favorite is Dagny/Hank.  Because, I suppose, they got the most screen time, and they both did so much for each other.  But I felt for Francisco, I really did.  It really wasn't fair that he didn't get her in the end.
    I did not like Dagny/John Galt - and it's amazing, really, how the character in whom Ayn Rand embodies all her principles, is the worst developed.  I never liked John Galt, from the first introduction - I guess he was too perfect.  And I was quite furious at Dagny for leaving both Francisco and Hank in favor of John.
    My favorite passage was the extensive coverage of the circumstances and all the people, before the great Taggart Tunnel disaster.  It was brilliant – how for each character who played a part, there was a snippet of their history and how they were affected by the directives, what brought them to allow this to happen. 
    I found Lillian Rearden interesting, too – in the beginning, before she became an evil bitch, I quite liked her – related to her, in fact.  Her "bright tone of amusement" - her amused, mocking manner.
    I also grew very attached to Cheryl, in the scene of her wedding night, and the last night, in which she is finally cultured, and so very mature and dignified.
    The scene in which Dagny cried was powerful - all through the book, since the first awful directive which broke Ellis Wyatt, I expected her to cry. 
    The vast majority of the book was not at all hard to read - and I did read it all, except for the last fifty pages of John Galt's massive speech.  Yeah.  I just couldn't stand it.  At that point I had read nine hundred-plus pages of Ayn Rand's philosophy, and no, I'm not retarded, so I I understood what she's promoting - and I was dying to know the outcome of this gigantic monologue.  I read the first eight pages or so, checked to see how long it was, and skipped to the last five pages or so to skim.  I read Francisco's fifteen-page monologue about money, though.
    And now for quotes.  Some of these, you have to understand the background of whatever's going on at the moment, but I found them utterly profound.

    "Miss Taggart," asked Rearden, "why didn't you mention that I'm going to ride in that engine, too?"
    She looked at him across the room, and for a moment they were alone, holding each other's glance.
    "Yes, of course, Mr. Rearden," she answered.



    "I am sorry, gentlemen," said Rearden, "that I will be obliged to save your goddamn necks along with mine."

    They were cut into the polish of the wood, still showing the force of the pencil's pressure in the hands that had made them, each in his own violent writing: "You'll get over it - Ellis Wyatt" "It will be all right by the morning - Ken Danagger" "It's worth it - Roger Marsh."
     
    I liked the torture scene and the rescue, simply because I enjoy scenes like that in which friends show care and emotion.

    While Francisco and Rearden were helping Galt to dress, Danneskjold proceeded calmly, systematically, with no visible emotion, to demolish the torture machine into splinters.

    The ending, however...eh.  The ending of such a huge book ought to be striking, and this wasn't.  Not to me, anyway.  Particularly because I was wondering WTF happened to Eddie - they sent someone out to get him, right?  Right?  I love Eddie....

























  • Dracula:  My incentive to read this was to study the original vampire story, and to see what inspired all this modern vampire-craze.  I was also hoping for a real, developed insight into Dracula's character, and with it something that would set him apart from the other stereotypical villains and monsters. 
    I was rather disappointed - well, I suppose that due to the format of the book, there wasn't much opportunity for especial insight.  Otherwise, it was a decent book, very developed in Dracula's various powers and limitations.  Was pleased with the character of Van Helsing as well.  I enjoyed Mina being...sucked...and forced to drink his blood in return. 
    The ending was rather rushed, unfortunately - it felt hurried.



  •  

    lavivi: scan from Hellsing manga of Integra and Alucard (Default)
    A far-too-delayed SOS.  It's been a while since I said what the acronym stood for, so allow me to say it again as a reminder for everyone, including myself: Supply of Sanity.)
    • Dune: Before I started it, I was told that some claimed it was comparable to Lord of the Rings.  Now, I wouldn't say that, for I believe there is no other fantasy book that has made more people want to desperately live in the book's world like LOTR.  But Dune holds an interesting allure too - especially (and this is what I consider the best element of the book) concerning the Bene Gesserit.  The plot and general line of the story struck me as being quite original.  However, I didn't become especially attached to any character, except perhaps the Lady Jessica.  Leto's description too sounded quite handsome.  The villian, Baron Harkonenn, was successfully evil, though.  I liked Chani later in the book.  The ending was profound, but in a small way - it did not tie up the book, except perhaps in the way that it had an emphasis on what history would say, and every chapter from the beginning had an excerpt from what history said about the events taking place in the book.  But still, there was quite a bit left un-concluded - I suppose that's for the sequels.
      Quotes - one of the evilness of the baron, another one of humor, and another of striking profoundness of the Bene Gesserit:
      The Baron turned toward the man. "I am hungry."
      "Yes, m'Lord."
      "And I wish to be diverted ...." the Baron rumbled.
      The guardsman lowered his eyes. "What diversion does m'Lord wish?"
      "I'll be in my sleeping chambers," the Baron said. "Bring me that young fellow we bought on Gamont, the one with the lovely eyes.  Drug him well.  I don't feel like wrestling."
      "Yes, m'Lord."





      Note: I am not a homophobe, but that made me stop reading to wail, "Ew ew ew ew ewww...."  As I said, very effective evilness.
      [When one of the Duke's right-hand men accidentally overlooks an assassination attempt:]
      The door opposite the Duke banged open.  Thufir Hawat strode through it looking older and more leathery than ever.  He paced down the length of the table, stopped at attention facing Leto.
      "My Lord," he said, speaking to a point over Leto's head, "I have just learned how I failed you.  It becomes necessary that I tender my resig-"
      "Oh, sit down and stop acting the fool," the Duke said.  He waved to a chair across from Paul.

      "Fear is the mind-killer.  Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.  I will face my fear.  I will permit it to pass over me and through me.  And when it has gone past me I will turn to see fear's path.  Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.  Only I will remain."




      I usually sneer at those kind of self-help things, but this one's actually really cool.









    • Catcher in the Rye: I had this recommended to me a very long time ago by a close friend, who raved about it.  Now, after finally reading it myself, I need to email her and ask her exactly why she found it so good. 
      I think it was the lack of a plot that made me indifferent to it.  I like plots. 
      The slang was interesting, and there were a couple terms in particular that I really liked (they were what I liked most about the book, actually).  Flit (noun) and flitty (adjective) for gay, and talking about "feeling very sexy" when horny.  That second one in particular I want to make part of my vocabulary. 
      Only one quote:
      While I was walking, I passed these two guys that were unloading this big Christmas tree off a truck.  One guy kept saying to the other guy, "Hold the sonuvabitch up!  Hold it up, for Chrissake!" It certainly was a gorgeous way to talk about a Christmas tree.







    • Year of Wonders: I really, really liked this book.  Like Dune, it was original in its plot and direction and outcome, which is always nice.  I'm not sure why I liked it so much, considering how nearly all of it was so terribly depressing and awful.  But the ending, and quite a bit before the ending, surprised me completely.  I think I might not have liked it as much if the author had left it with the sudden relationship that sprung up near the end, but she didn't, and I truly liked how the book ended.  Something about escape, running away to a totally different culture - it has the same appeal as a fantasy world, you know.  Anyway, it actually made me want to run away to live with Muslims, which is crazy really applauds the author considering how I know they treat women and the awful circumcision thing they do to women that I read about in Slave.
      One quote, cut because it's spoilerish.
      SPOILER, I SAY! )
      The ending was beautiful and profound as well.  Just a really, really good book.  Had feministic qualities too, which of course endeared me all the more.






    • The Treasure of Montsegur:  It's very interesting, because this book had about the same amount of morbidness and depressing scenes as Year of Wonder, yet I didn't like it nearly as much.  It's hard to pinpoint why I didn't like it...perhaps because it wasn't satisfying.  I definitely didn't like the main character as a girl, she was a total bitch.
      No quotes.


    lavivi: scan from Hellsing manga of Integra and Alucard (Default)
    So.  The fourth and last (?) Artemis Fowl book.

    Artemis Fowl - The Opal Deception

    :
      The best part of the book was the beginning - the certain character's death scene.  Moving, without it trying to be.  Or maybe I'm just becoming sensitive. [sweatdrop]

    A single quote, on page thirty-five of three hundred forty - Artemis is posing as a normal teenager to break into a bank:

    Bertholt smiled with the insincerity a toddler could have seen through. "Alfonse, nice to meet you."
    "Dude," said Artemis, with equal hypocrisy.

    Those two lines are just...love. The next few lines are amusing, but not such love.

    Butler shook his head. "My son does not communicate well with the rest of the world. I look forward to the day when he can join the army. Then we will see if there is a man beneath all these moods."

    The rest of the book, however.  Artemis is fourteen, and the epilogue at the end of the third book LIED.   While he has somewhat reverted to his true Slytherin-ness, even before he recovered his memory he had Fits of Conscience.  After his memory...well.  He ceremoniously burned his Slytherin flag and dyed his hair red, and his skin gold.  I nearly hurled.

    Very, very disappointing.  You lose, Eoin Colfer.  You lose big time.  You - you brought to life such a fascinating, Raverin character such as Artemis Fowl, and then you ruin him - it's unforgivable.  You think you're making your readers happy by making Artemis realize there are such things as morals, and giving him stupid Gryffindor sensibilities?  WRONG, ASSHAT.  Lemony Snicket proved how very wrong you are.  Look at his excellent books, which teach children how policemen are most certainly not your friends, and how lying can be both good and appropriate at times - his books, which one of the themes is all about Shades of Gray, dammit. 

    It's really enough to make me cry, actually.  Because I think I've fallen in love with Artemis Fowl - on the same scale as my love for Cassie's Draco (which is, by the way, just about as much as I love anyone), only a few points less.  He would be the best Ravenclaw, and one of the best Slytherins.  He's a perfect mix of the houses.  A Raverin. 

    I've fallen in love with him so much, in fact, that I'm seriously considering starting an Artemis Fowl fanfic, about him in boarding school and a girl.  It also simultaneously inspired an original story - my first original romance story, and I quite like the concept of it now.  It's very unique, not at all your sappy, cliche romance story. 

    Imagine, if you will - Artemis Fowl, unspoilt by all silly faerie efforts and whatever - in boarding school, growing up.  He has no friends, of course, because he doesn't respect anyone, and of course he's fine with it.  One girl, however, who may or may not be loosely based on me: one girl who admires intelligence above all, and therefore falls in love with him.  One girl who's definitely quirky in her own way, because a lot of what's important to other girls isn't important to her.  She's quiet, very quiet, intelligent too, of course.  She approaches Artemis, and carefully offers him what he's missing: only a chance to relieve his hormones, without the strings.  He comprehends completely, and accepts her offer, and she doesn't mind knowing that he doesn't love her.  And both being intelligent, mature, above their peers, they continue their relationship year after year....

    Ye gods, it's the kind of story that could really, really be something, I think.  The kind of fanfic, anyway.





    ...COPYRIGHTED, LAVINIA LAVENDER, 2005.
    lavivi: scan from Hellsing manga of Integra and Alucard (Potter.")
    This is very much delayed, and I'm afraid that I've forgotton some of my intial impressions from the books I read first.

    SOS of The Prince, The Night Trilogy, Slave, Sherlock Holmes, and Artemis Fowl. Really long. )
    Sigh.  The sad thing is, I put so much effort into that, and I know no one's going to read all of it.
    lavivi: scan from Hellsing manga of Integra and Alucard (Default)

    Two book reviews.

    • The Rising:  Writing style superb, as always.  It's been a while since I read the series so I can't remember if the defect was present before, but now I noticed the biggest flaw was that there were great stretches of dialogue without any narrative - whether "he said" or "He sighed and sat down."  Not that I became confused, but it hurt the scene's smoothness and credibility, particularly in the one where Rayford (main character) is breaking up with his long-time, almost-fiance girlfriend.

      On the other hand, I was impressed by the main character's depth.  Going back to the losing fiance-girlfriend - even though she started off as the classic shallow ditz, she exhibited some uniqueness in her beliefs about God and the rest in the final scene when Rayford broke up with her.  I had been amazed by what a complete bitch she was, until then - then I was moved by her pleas.  I saw her side of it, and admired her maturity when they settled terms.

      But speaking of "bitch," another thing that definitely subtracted from the book was its refusal to use any swear words.  Oh, for an adult, highly complex novel, it pulls off the lack of normal swearing extremely well - in all cases but the ones that it simply cannot be avoided, when it's used as a noun.  They substituted "bitch," "bastard," and "asshole" alike with "scoundrel."  What kind of word is scoundrel?

      Moving on to the story itself...it was about how the Antichrist came to be - his mother, his birth.  There was also an unrelated story going on about the upbringing of Rayford Steele.

      The Antichrist's (Nicolae Carpathia) mother was a woman named Marilena.  She's set as a middle-aged, very plain, Romanian professor in Romania.  She's married, but the relationship is not in the smallest way romantic.  They're both very intellectual.  She suddenly feels an unquenchable need for a baby, and simultaneously begins attending classes for, in essence, Satanism.  Then she finds out her husband is gay, which doubly reassures her that there is no chance of his impregnanting her.

      At this point I suspected there would be some parallel between this and Jesus's conception - the latter was conceived by the Holy Spirit, so I guessed that perhaps the Antichrist would be conceived by some demon of sorts.

      But that wasn't what happened.  Instead, Marilena was impregnanted by sperm donors - yes, two men, who later turned out to be Marilena's husband and his gay lover.  And suddenly, I sense the subtle condemnation of homosexuals.  Ouch.

      Marilena also surprised me in the end by her death.  She came across as a weepy woman in some of her first confrontations with her husband, but proved in the ed to be very strong, determined, and resourceful in fighting for her life. (She was murdered by the people on the same side she was.)

      The last major parallel was at the very end.  Nicolae at age twenty-four was taken out by Lucifer to endure the same temptations Jesus did.  He fasted forty days in the wilderness, then faced the three temptations - and he took every one of them.

















    • Pride & Prejudice:  I watched the seven-hour long movie some time ago, and so had a vague knowledge of the plot and some turn of events as I read.

      I always enjoy reading a book with the eloquence of having been written in the 1800's.  Jane Eyre is a supreme example (along with being a general favorite of mine), along with the less-liked Wuthering Heights.

      Since I don't have a copy of either on hand, I can't compare the complexity of the language and setence structure to that of Pride & Prejudice.  Regardless, I did not have much difficulty at all with it.  There was perhaps one sentence in every fifteen or twenty pages that I had to reread in order to make certain I understood the subject of the pronouns or demonstratives.  But throughout, I highly enjoyed the wit and general cleverness of both the narrative and the dialogue. 

      With that said - the beginning of the book did not capture my attention.  After the first quarter of the way in, though, I was much more engrossed.

      Mr. Bennet was my absolute favorite.  The four excerpts I'm about to show are all by him.  I loved his snarkiness and detachment from his wife's affairs - what else can an intelligent man do, with such a wife?

      "Very well.  We now come to the point.  Your mother insists upon your accepting it.  Is it not so, Mrs. Bennet?"
      "Yes, or I will never see her again."
      "An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth.  From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents.  - Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do."





      Few parts of the book actually made me smile widely or laugh aloud, but that did both.

      "This is an evening of wonders, indeed!  And so, Darcy did everything; made up the match, gave the money, paid the fellow's debts, and got him his commission!  So much the better.  It will save me a world of trouble and economy.  Had it been your uncle's doing, I must and would have paid him; but these violent young lovers carry everything their own way.  I shall offer to pay him tomorrow; he will rant and storm about his love for you, and there will be an end of the matter."



      If you have not read the book, know now that Wickham is a despicable character who seduced Mr. Bennet's most foolish daughter, and nearly forever ruined the family's honor.

      "...Much as I abominate writing, I would not give up Mr. Collins's correspondence for any consideration.  Nay, when I read a letter of his, I cannot help giving him the preference even over Wickham, much as I value the impudence and hypocrisy of my son-in-law."

      "I admire all my three sons-in-law highly," said he.  "Wickham, perhaps, is my favourite; but I think I shall like your husband quite as well as Jane's."





      The ending in particular was the best.  Elizabeth/Darcy and all the details of their joyful ending made me delightfully happy.  It's an old-fashoined sort of happiness, the feel-good kind, where everything turns out wonderfully well, but that does not lessen the enjoyment.

      If I was forced to find a flaw, it would be with the transformation of Mr. Darcy's character.  It was rather sudden, and insufficiently explained for the degree of its radical change.















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