Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Take On: True Love

"The greater the feeling of responsibility for the person the more true love there is."
It's not very "romantic" and it sure doesn't inspire one to break into song, but there you have it. I just thought after my "little rant" in my review of the Song of the Lioness series I owed y'all a bit of an explanation as to my feelings on the subject. See, my definition of love is: willing (or desiring) the good of another person. It is completely unselfish and seeks only to give another person good. Alanna's relationships were basically selfish and that really bothered me since the series is aimed towards girls who are still trying to figure out what love really is. I think that authors need to try a little harder to live up to the responsibility of forming the minds and wills of young readers.
And that's my take.

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Take On: The Song of the Lioness Series by Tamora Pierce

Becoming a legend is not easy, as young Alana of Trebond discovers when she disguises herself as a boy and begins training to be a knight. Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, this audiobook is a rousing introduction to the intensely satisfying story of Alanna.

This is the first series within the saga of Tortallan legends by Pierce. I've always said that she is one of my favorite authors and that this is one of my favorite worlds, yet I'd long neglected reading her first quartet. Instead of starting at the beginning like a normal person, I started reading Pierce's fantasy with the third book of her third quartet, The Protector of the Small, and, aside from reading the first two books of that series at a later date, I never looked back. But this summer I found out that my library had the first quartet of my beloved Tortallan heroines, so I vowed to read it, and read it I did!
In this quartet, we meet Pierce's prototype shero (she + hero = shero. Similar to a heroine, but it sounds less druggy), Alanna. Alanna wants nothing more than to be a knight and go on adventures, so she and her twin brother, Thom, who wants nothing to do with swords and would rather study sorcery, switch places. Thom goes to the Methrin priests to learn magic, and Alanna goes to the royal city to study the arts of combat and chivalry.
We watch as Alanna grows into a legend of Tortall, battles great evil, and, along the way, learns to love.

Okay, enough summing up. Now what did I think of the series?
I think that Pierce's writing has come a long way since she first wrote her archetypical quartet. The series, which lays the groundwrm for all her later Totall-based series, lacked the subtlety of her later works and was weighed down by thinly disguised femenist ideals.
When I first picked up this series, I thought I'd be in for a thrill ride starring a real tough-as-nails girl who made no compremises and kicked butt along the road to success. What I got was a confused girl who didn't really know what she wanted after all. Now, this may be what some people find so attractive about this series; that Alanna, through her struggle to balance her identity as both a warrior and a woman, is made more real by her flaws and mistakes. But I would've preferred that Alanna, who Pierce is obviousy trying to set up as a roll model of an empowered female for young girls, had shown more maturity and true responsibilty in regards to sex. I mean, this girl was in and out so many beds so many times it made my head spin! It also made me look back on all of Pierce's other books that I'd read and enjoyed immensely, even as a young and impressionable tween, and notice an unnerving trend: All the girls in her stories, with a few exceptions, are away from home at a very young age, and so they innevitabley hit puberty while the story is going along, and we all know what that means, "Knock, knock! It's Mother Nature here with your special gift! Congratulations and welcome to womanhood!" Nothing at all wrong with that. In fact, i highly encourage it. What I do find disturbing is that the first thing these girls go out and do upon "becoming women" is to get an "anti-pregnancy charm" from ye olde healer. Now what kind of example is that teaching girls? That your only responsibility in making love is to keep yourself from having an unwanted baby, not that making love is at its core about having children. It's not a recreational activity but the creation of a person through love. Hence the term "making love". Without that definition, the phrase doesn't even make sense. Making love into what?
Pierce's stories all revolve around a young girl fighting for a different way of life--to be a warrior, a mage, a spy master, a Dog (beat cop/detective)--and the lesson is always the same: you can do whatever you put your mind to! A sentement that helped me when I was young and feeling awkward in my own skin. What I'd like to see from Pierce, though, is a lesson in true courage. Not facing down an enraged centuar or band or mountain raiders single handedly, but to sacrifice oneself for another or to woman up to the concequences of ones choices, not when they're "ready", but when the moment arises. It's not about being ready, it's about being responsible!
Now as for the actual books themselves; it felt like there just wasn't enough plot to go around. The timeline was hugely stretched, we're talking about a decade long or so, and it made the story just drag in places. All the action seemed to me to crammed into the last six chapters or so of each book with lots of diplomacy and training and traveling in the middle. To put it short, it was kinda, well, boring. The story itself was cool and had everything you'd want from a fantasy book: Hero? Check! Epic journey? Check! Conflict with villain as well as lesser evils, i.e. personal struggles etc.? Check! But there was severe lack of action for a good deal of the series that made it really hard to read.
The Song of the Lioness Series set the stage for greater things to come form Pierce's imagination, even if it fell a little short of greatness itself.
I give Alanna: The First Adventure...

In the Hand of the Goddess...

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man...

and Lioness Rampant...
As for the whole series, I give it...
I never thought I'd find a series by Tamora Pierce that I'd dislike this much, at least not one based in Tortall anyway. It just was not my cup of tea. Maybe y'all feel differently, though. Let me know what you thought of this series if you've read it!

Happy reading, y'all!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

In Which I Give In To Peer Pressure

No, I didn't do anything stupid like get a tattoo of Sponge Bob or copy Emma Watson's new hair-do (looks great on her, probably not so much on me, though). Nothing that dramatic. I just joined Twitter! I said I'd never do it! But I "had to" because it was necessary for joining the Thirteenth Chime cover remake contest.
So anyway! You can find on Twitter here or follow me @Zombie_Girrrl or however you do it (I'm still new, give me a break).

Well, happy Tweeting!
Zombie Lemming Girrrl

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thirteenth Chime Cover Remake Contest

To celebrate the release of Emma Michaels' The Thirteenth Chime on Augaust 13th, Khadija of Black Fingernailed Reviews is hosting a cover remake contest!
Cover Remake Contest
Here's my interpretation of The Thirteenth Chime's cover. What do you think?

I'm not all that comouter savvy, so I had to draw mine by hand then add the backround and text online.
I'm really excited about this book, it sounds awesome! I can't wait for the 13th to get here.

Happy waiting,

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