A Song of the Hunger Compass: it’s book review time!

(This got really long – sorry. You probably shouldn’t try to read all of it in one go).

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It was all Bean Mom’s fault.

She posted a review of George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (aka Game of Thrones), and before I knew it I’d lost five months of my life.

It was very sneakily done: she posted her review a couple of weeks before Christmas, while I was trying to find a book to buy for Mr E Man that would make up for him being pretty lukewarm about the last couple of books I’d bought him. Based on her description (you should read it, because as regular readers will know, my book reviews are short on actual details about the books in question), I thought he might like it. Half an hour in, on Christmas morning, he reported that it “has promise”; on Boxing Day he declared it “really good, actually”, and by the 28th he’d basically stopped talking to me as he sank deeper and deeper into the land of Westeros. As soon as he finished it he requested book two, and my own addiction began as I launched into the first one. We’ve now both read all five published books of the planned series of seven, watched both seasons of the HBO adaptation, and are eagerly awaiting book six / season three.

I hadn’t read any fantasy since Lord of the Rings and wasn’t sure if I’d like this series, but by the time the fantasy elements started ramping up I’d been so drawn into the characters and the political intrigue that I forgot any misgivings I might have had about the genre as a whole. There are so many twists and turns, so many complexities and ambiguities to each character, so many moments when you shriek “NOOOOO!” as one of your favourite characters is killed off and you literally throw the book away from you (I did this twice), before going immediately to retrieve it because you just have to know what happens next… I admit I got slightly bogged down in book four (Martin split books four and five into two more-or-less chronologically parallel narratives, with the split based on the geographical location of the characters, and as it happens most of my favourites ended up in book five – also, there were too many new characters introduced too quickly), but that was just a very brief slow-down as I accelerated towards the nerve-wracking cliffhanger at the end of the story so far.

The really great thing is that a critical mass of people at my new job have either read or are reading the books and/or watching the series, and we frequently discuss them in the lunch room. Out of deference to those still near the beginning of the series, some of our conversations are along the lines of “you know in book five, when Daenerys goes to that place, and that thing happens? Wasn’t that AWESOME?!“, but it’s great to discuss and argue about the series with fellow fans (see also: repeated and extended Facebook conversations with bloggers who may or may not wish to identify themselves). In fact, I may or may not have yelled “TEAM TARGARYEN!!!” very loudly across the lunch table during one such argument… I’ll never tell!. And yes, like Bean Mom, I have my own conspiracy theories about secret identities and other things that are Not As They Seem.

I’ll be pre-ordering book six as soon as it’s announced. In fact, I may have to buy two copies, to prevent a divorce…

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I started reading another of Bean Mom’s recommendationsSuzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, a couple of days after I finished the last available Song of Ice and Fire volume, seeing it as a possible methadone programme to treat my withdrawal symptoms. I was pleasantly surprised to quickly find myself just as engrossed – the two series are very, very different, but I love The Hunger Games just as much if not maybe just a tiny bit more (maybe). Again, I’m not going to get too far into the details of the books, but the characters are just as ambiguous, there’s just as much intrigue, and plenty of violence (although much less sex and gore than in Martin’s work).

I watched the film version immediately after I finished the third book, on a plane to Montreal. I liked it, but found that the ambiguity of the characters was one of a few fairly crucial aspects of the book that didn’t come over as well as they should. Katniss in particular is much more complex and conflicted in the book than the straight-up heroine portrayed in the movie. Her snarky sense of humour was also missing – in the book she had some wonderful inner monologue one-liners about the absurdity of the situation in which she found herself; as I laughed, I was reminded very strongly of the funniest and snarkiest of Nina‘s grumpy fieldwork posts (see the Bragging Rights Central archives linked in the right sidebar for my favourite examples).

This is actually exactly how I imagine Nina contemplating how much she hates stupid Kiwi vegetation while out in the field

Other things that I didn’t think came through in the film adaptation were how genuinely clueless, rather than heartlessly cruel, most people in the Capitol were about the situation, as well as how much the characters from the Districts (and the contenders in the Games in particular) were motivated by hunger and thirst. Maybe you’re supposed to infer the latter from the title alone? As with Katniss’ ambivalence about her motivations and her role, I think these lapses will start to become more harmful to the success of the movie interpretations as the trilogy progresses, but no doubt I will still be watching regardless!

As with A Song of Ice and Fire, I find myself surrounded by other fans of The Hunger Games. Most people in my team at work have read them, my Dad (who would never usually like this kind of thing) now raves about the books after seeing the film “by accident” when the film he’d wanted to see was sold out, my Mum also really enjoyed them, and at a working dinner in Montreal I found that everyone on my flight in – including PIs and the heads of several major funding agencies – had watched the film at the same time as me, and all wanted to talk about the film and the books instead of science. This ability to discuss my new favourite series has added greatly to my enjoyment of the bulk of this year’s reading!

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I have read other books since my last review post, believe it or not, and next up after The Hunger Games was Phillip Pullmans’ His Dark Materials trilogy. I liked this set a lot, although the books didn’t grab me on an emotional level as much as the two series mentioned above. Perhaps reading these books immediately after two series I’d completely fallen in love with wasn’t quite fair to Pullman, but I’ll very probably be reading these books again, so we’ll see if my emotional involvement catches up with my intellectual appreciation and admiration of the Materials series.

It really is a staggering achievement. The sheer number, scope and complexity of the ideas included in these books is above and beyond anything I’ve ever encountered in children’s series. But the fact that it was more obviously written for kids than was The Hunger Games may have been what threw me off a little bit; there were a few obvious “tell, don’t show” moments in the first book in particular that seemed to block my flow as I tried to get into it. However, I’m very glad I persevered. As with all good books I find myself still thinking about some of the ideas I encountered within the pages of books two and three in particular (book two was definitely my favourite), and I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys being challenged by their reading material. Just, maybe wait a few weeks if you’ve just finished reading something you absolutely love!

I haven’t seen the movie adaptation of The Golden Compass, but heard it was disappointing. Any thoughts from people who’ve both read the books and seen the film as to whether it’s worth tracking down?

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I promise the rest of my reviews will be much shorter.

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The Night Eternal: Book Three of the Strain Trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck HoganI loved the first book of this vampire trilogy despite its substantial flaws, but book two was just frustratingly awful. I’m pleased to be able to report that the third book totally redeems the series. It was still crappily written in a style that more resembles a screenplay than a novel, but the excitement and the page-turning anticipation of the next scene was back in full force. And the best thing is that the first couple of chapters recap pretty much every important plot point from the second book, so I think it’s fairly safe to say that you can skip from crappy-but-fun book one straight to crappy-but-fun book three, avoiding just-plain-crappy book two completely!

See, I read the crappy books so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

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The Secret in Their Eyes by Eduardo Sacheri. This book freaked me out at first, although this was due to the manner of its arrival rather than the book itself. This was the book I posted about last year, which arrived direct from the publisher with no note or anything, and which all likely candidates denied having sent. The combination of the title and the blurb on the back (saying that it involves secrets and a gruesome murder) seriously made me think that I might have acquired a scary internet stalker. A couple of weeks later, though, I sat bolt upright in bed at 3 am having just remembered that I’d won a book by tweeting what I was reading that day with the hashtag #FridayReads. A quick 3:05 am Google session revealed that this was indeed the book, which I promptly deemed safe to actually read. I’m glad I figured it out, because it was a great story of police corruption in Argentina – there’s a parallel narrative about the man writing the book alongside the main story itself, which is a device I usually don’t like but that worked very well in this case. It was a fast read that hasn’t become a firm favourite, but that I’m glad I read.

Not quite as glad as I am that I don’t have a scary internet stalker (that I know of), though.

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Postcards by Annie ProulxProulx’s The Shipping News is one of my all-time favourite books, so I had high hopes for this novel. It was as beautifully written as I’d hoped, but oh my god this is a bleak, bleak, depressing book. It starts with a much-regretted manslaughter and everything just gets worse and worse for everyone involved from that point on. Do NOT read this book in winter. Do NOT read it if you’re feeling a bit down. In fact, do NOT read it unless you’re an extremely emotionally resilient person, surrounded by love and warmth, in the middle of a very sunny stretch of weather. You have been warned.

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The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve. Meh. My parents and sister, whose tastes I generally share, keep telling me how much they love Anita Shreve and how amazed they are that I’m not a fan. I read A Wedding in December a few years ago to see what all the fuss was about, but really didn’t like it. It just hit all the wrong buttons: I don’t usually like books where a character is an author and parts of “their” writing are inserted in the text (see above for a surprising exception; I can’t figure out why it worked for me in The Secret in their Eyes and also in The World According to Garp, but not anywhere else); I’m thoroughly sick of books set in or featuring alumni of English / other liberal arts university courses. These may not be reasonable pet peeves, but hey, they’re mine – and A Wedding in December contained both of them. However, I felt somehow compelled to pick up The Pilot’s Wife when I spotted it at my sister-in-law’s place at Christmas (while Mr E Man was getting stuck into Game of Thrones, the lucky bastard). And, like I said – meh. It was OK, but I found it very predictable, and the important revelations towards the end that I’d totally already predicted felt compressed and rushed. And why is Shreve so bloody obsessed with describing in great detail what every character’s wearing in every scene? I DON’T CARE! 

Wow, apparently this author pisses me off more than I’d realised. In fact, I hope she reads Annie Proulx’s book and gets so depressed she never writes another novel again. (Don’t worry, I’m sure she’s made enough money from my relatives and other suckers to last her a lifetime…)

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The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje. As I said in a comment on Bean Mom’s Hunger Games post linked above, “It was beautifully written – just absolutely gorgeous – but didn’t “grab” me at all. I even put it down for a few weeks when I got my hands on the fourth Martin book (my husband started the series first so I always have to wait for him) and didn’t miss it at all; I came back to it later with a sense of obligation to finish it rather than any excitement about catching up with the characters or the narrative”

I’ve had this experience with Ondaatje’s writing before, and it always makes me feel like I’m missing something. I’ve enjoyed the experience of reading all his novels, because they really are absolutely beautifully written, but I’ve only really liked a couple of them as novels. This was not one of them, but I’ll keep trying when his next one comes out.

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Wow, that got long. Sorry. I’m now going to pretend that I don’t already have massive piles of unread books all over my house and ask for reader recommendations to tide me over until Martin’s next book comes out…

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
This entry was posted in blog buddies, book review, embarrassing fan girl, family, movie review, rants, television. Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to A Song of the Hunger Compass: it’s book review time!

  1. chall says:

    Lovely reviews! 🙂

    I haven’t watched the series Game of Thrones since I’m not sure I want “my” idea of the characters to be spoiled with “the series”…. (I’m tricky and selfish that way). Then again, that would make it possible for me to discuss it with mr since he hasn’t read the books… so, probably will start the series as a winter project 🙂 right in time for the sixth book to come out when I will be hibernating in a corner somewhere and not come out until I finish it 🙂

    As for another series that you might like, if you like the dark matter/GoT/Hunger games might be Tales of the Otori by Lian Hurn. Fantasy sort of, I found it interesting. And from many years ago “Magician – the Rift war saga” by R.E.Feist…. I personally might like the spinoff series Daughter of the Empire (3 books in total, it’s a female protagonist which may be why I fancy it a little more?!).

    As for non-fantasy, I recently read a Shreve book to try it again (after the lablit.com discussion about her newest book about a wolf researcher), I didn’t read that one but A change in Altitude… I’m not superhappy about it (too critical about the descriptions me think, it’s set in 70ies Kenya) and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. The last one was a roller coaster… still not sure if I like it or not 😉

  2. Bob O'H says:

    I got books 1-4 of SoFaI on my new Kindle (after I bought Book 1 of Siege of Stars), and I’m presently 63% of the way through. So far it feel like it’s a soap opera sandwiched between two novels (the stuff in the north and Daenerys). all of this makes reading the books more difficult, because Martin doesn’t use the end of the first two book to resolve any sub-plot, so they just sort-of finish.

    I haven’t seen the TV series yet, thanks to not having a TV. If you want to send me the DVDs…

    I’ve read all of His Dark Materials, but I had to turn the light on to see them. The film isn’t great, I think it might make a better TV series, as that will give it time to develop more of the sub-plots.

    BTW, have you read George R.R. Martin’s Sandkings? An excellent if creepy short story.

  3. Crystal Voodoo says:

    I have to agree that the Dark Materials were meh on the emotional impact. I read two of the books and got distracted. I’ve avoided SoFaI mostly because I was burned on large cast fantasy novels by the Wheel of Time series. I made it as far as book four and realized that of the thirty active characters I only liked three and I was reading 150 pages of stuff I didn’t care about to get to the five pages that I did. If my assumptions are wrong I’d love to be corrected.

    If you’re up for a bit of a genre shift I’d suggest the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. They are well-written, fun, and action-packed reads though as a fair warning they don’t really lend themselves to being put down so set out a block of time.

  4. traitor!!!! Oh can you give up on the starks?! I hang my head in shame.
    LOVED Hunger Games. Now stop reviewing books till I’m finished my PhD damn it. I have ZERO time to read anything other than childrens books and journal articles. I do NOT need to be reminded about what I’m missing. And yes its all about me, how many times do I need to tell you?!

  5. Chall, I was a bit reluctant too, but the casting is really, really good. I like Tyrion and Varys in particular. As with many adaptations, you have to really see the two versions as separate entities though – the TV version starts to diverge from the book about five episodes in, and later on some characters’ arcs are really quite different from in the books.

    Thanks for your recommendations! I couldn’t find Anita Shreve on the Lablit site, but there was a wolf researcher book by Jodi Picoult. I still haven’t forgiven her for the My Sister’s Keeper fiasco (my review here) so I think I'll have to give that one a miss unfortunately!

    Bob, just wait until you have 20 or so narrators all going at once! Sorry, I can't help you with the DVDs – we have HBO so we watched it on demand (season one) or "live" (season two).

    A His Dark Materials TV series would indeed be great. The BBC should do it, with HBO as an acceptable alternative.

    I haven’t read Sandkings. I got Mr E Man a collection of Martin’s short stories for his birthday and am eagerly awaiting my turn to read it!

    Crystal Voodoo, Mr E Man has moaned about Wheel of Time before – he said he got really annoyed that the author kept pumping out more and more books long after the series was supposed to end, and refused to kill off his characters when they stopped being interesting. I just asked him and he said “no comparison, Game of Thrones is waaaaaaaay better”.

    ScientistMother, the three-headed dragon will prevail and YOU KNOW IT! Also: Daenerys might be quite gloriously insane, but she kicks ASS (you know that, too 🙂 )

    Yes I still love the Starks too though

    (the remainder of this argument has been moved to more private venues to avoid spoilers for other readers).

    • chall says:

      Picoult! As you might see in the forums chatter I mixed them up there too. Picoult is also a popular writer for book clubs – that’s my only excuse. Since you weren’t a fan of the sister’s keeper (similar thoughts to me) i understand. I might buy it n kindle though, easy and I need to give her a try after that good review about the wolf researcher!

      I’ll try and see the SoFI and GoT series on tv as two different things… i have a slightly hard time with it, but mayb easier now since it’s been a few years since I read the books 1-3 so the details might escape me and leave me more open to the filming? 😉

      • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

        Let me know if you like it – maybe it’s time for me to give her a second chance? Most of My Sister’s Keeper was fantastic, it was just the cop-out of an ending that I hated.

  6. I feel your pain with the Game of Thrones series. Made the mistake of starting the first book while on vacation over the summer which meant that I spent a lot of time not seeing the beautiful country in which I was traveling at the time and finished the second one before I got back to the US. By the time I got to the fourth and fifth books, I just wanted it to be over as more and more and more characters were being introduced and there was no resolution in sight for the core characters. Not sure I’ll bother with six or seven when they’re eventually released as I got to the point where I was so frustrated that I didn’t care anymore. Did love Tyrion though and thought that he was perfect in the TV series. Also a big fan of Brienne.

    Hunger Games books were also engrossing and easy to read and at least there was a story arc that was wrapped up in the trilogy. Movie was good but probably won’t bother with the next two.

    Am now back to my regular reading library that consists mostly of European mystery/thrillers: Mankell, Nesbo, Indridason, Edwardson, et al.

  7. First forgot to say that I BLAME BEAN-MOM TOO! I’ve been feeling guilt over abandoning my children and husband over the 6 week period it took me to read all the books. But no longer. Its all bean-moms fault. I LOVE it.

    but srsly, if some one has been living under a rock and has not yet read the series, that is they’re fault. Where have they been??!!

  8. I don’t live under a rock, and I haven’t read any of them. But I might.

    The Hungry Games series, I have read… rather sickenly violent I thought, but well done. I liked the movie simply because it used some non-standard look-and-feel elements and didn’t seem like a typical Hollywood action pic.

    His Dark Materials I mostly enjoyed, except the whole quasi-religious plot motivation thing just kind of fizzled, and I really didn’t understand exactly what the big conspiracy based on it was. Would probably have made a better single book than a trilogy, although I agree it was very well done and totally different from anything else I’ve read.

    The rest of your list, I confess I’m unfamiliar with.

    And I’ll give you my nomination for “Time Suck of the Decade” – the Lemony Snicket books. After half a dozen or so, you realize they all play to a rapidly-tiring formula. And despite the author’s assertions that the ending will be unsatisfying and disappointing, it still came as a shock to me that it was, in fact, unsatisfying and disappointing. It made a much, much better film (covering elements of only the first three books, wrapped up into a nicely-resolved package) than a triskadekilogy (or whatever the right term is).

  9. bean-mom says:

    BWAHAHAHAHA! I happily accept blame, Cath and Scientistmother =)

    Have you read “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern? I liked it very much, although I’ve also noticed that people seem to have a very divided response. I like fairy tales, and it has very much of a fairy tale feel. The plot slides back and forth in time, and the chapters are structured mainly as a series of vignettes. I loved the writing and gorgeous imagery, but I know some people who thought it a bit slow. The people and reviewers who *didn’t* like it seem to be more in the “realist” camp of fiction, so maybe it’s just a genre thing.

    For something completely bizarre and out-there and often maddening but also ultimately completely awesome, try the Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake. I read the first two books of the trilogy this summer. Still haven’t gotten to the third book, but mean to eventually do so.

    I’m partway through Hillary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” now, and I keep thinking to myself “It’s like Game of Thrones!” Except without dire-wolves or dragons. And Henry VIII was a real d—k.

    Thanks for the reviews, Cath, especially of the del Toro trilogy (thanks for reading the crappy books so I don’t have to! haha). I read Michael Ondaatje’s “The English Patient” and it’s one of the few instances where I preferred the movie to the book. You’re right that Ondaatje’s prose is gorgeous. But I had zero empathy for any of his characters. The main lovers were a pair of jerks, and the movie was better because it made them slightly more likeable.

  10. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    PiT, oh, that’s a shame that you got so frustrated. I do agree that there are times in the series when there are just too many new characters, and they’re not always introduced in the right context because there were mentioned very briefly a couple of books ago at the same time as twenty other people… I wish the names of important new characters were marked with an asterisk the first time they’re used, so you know that you need to pay attention to who they are because it’ll be important later! The family trees at the back of each volume help a bit, but not enough.

    Richard, yeah, at the end of His Dark Materials I did feel that sense of it just fizzling out. When it was revealed what the prophesied “temptation” was that was such a big deal to everyone, I thought “was that all it was?!”, but I guess it kinda makes sense within the religious context…? I still really liked the series though, and I’m still trying to figure out what my daemon would be. Possibly an orang?

    I saw A Series of Unfortunate Events without having read the books, which is unusual for me, mostly because Billy Connolly was in it. I enjoyed the movie, so thanks for letting me know not to bother with the books! They were low on my list, but now they’re off it.

    Bean Mom, thanks for the recommendations! I do like my non-linear chronologies, so I’ll give it a look once I’ve read (some) of my piles of unread books. I once tried to watch a TV adaptation of Gormenghast and couldn’t get into it at all, so I’m not sure I want to launch an assault on the books!

    The English Patient was actually one of the ones I really liked, although I agree that the film was better. Anil’s Ghost was my favourite though – have you read it?

  11. Bob O'H says:

    I’ve spent the last 2 nights reading book 3 of SoFaI thinking that it must be close to the end, because several characters have their story nicely wrapped up for the moment, after the climax of the Red Wedding. And it’s still going on. And on. And on.

    And on.

    • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

      you’re aware that there are seven books, yes?

      • Bob O'H says:

        Yes. At least I’m unlikely to have finished book 5 before book 6 is published.

        • Yes you think that a characters storyline is done and then BAM! HEAD EXPLODES.

          its all very frustrating. Feast for Crows is immensely challenging to get through, though you’ll enjoy some of the new characters. Dance with Dragons is worth it.

  12. I can also recommend the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series – for a slightly younger crowd than *cough* us, but highly entertaining. The movie was good fun, too. I think the next movie’s in the works now.

  13. Nina says:

    Brilliant! That is in fact exactly how I look in the field! Just exchange the bow for a soil corer! Now I will have to read the books. And plan that writing retreat soon to write my fieldwork-memoirs as a phantasy-trilogy.
    You will be happy to hear that within the next month I have another 2 weeks of fieldwork planned (the last?!?!) with an innocent intern who has no knowledge whatsoever of my grumpy fieldwork monologues. The only thing I am looking forward to is to write the blogpost when it’s al over and done with.

    More on-topic of your gigantic post: I’ve read the dark materials and absolutely loved them, and as always didn’t know of any religious references until now (I was very much protected from religion when I grew up, and as a result I am capable of enjoying overly religious children’s books without getting any of the religious hints. Even after I’d read critics on how biblical the Narnia series are, I reread the series without finding any reference to religion).
    Also, I picked up a copy of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on my last US-EU trip, and this resulted in being at a conference 12 hours per day and spending at least half of my precious sleeping-time to reading the book. It’s crap, but also impossible to put down.

    • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

      YAY GRUMPY FIELDWORK BLOGPOST!

      Spoiler alert: Aslan = Jesus

      • Nina says:

        Yeah, Aslan=Jesus is what I read, but I still don’t get it??! I might be really easily converted to Christianity when the Day comes and all Narnia-fans are sought out for salvation.
        Until then I’ll try to think of Jesus as a fluffy grandfatherly lion who is cuddly and can fly.

        • Grant says:

          Sort-of relevant, I saw just this tweet (from ‏@Dr_AnnaM) :

          my partner once saw The Lion King in an isolated community in Namibia. Everyone cheered when the “good” lion died. Perspective…

        • “Until then I’ll try to think of Jesus as a fluffy grandfatherly lion who is cuddly and can fly.”

          That makes about as much sense as anything else 🙂

        • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

          “Aslan=Jesus is what I read, but I still don’t get it??!”

          He’s the son of the Emperor Over The Sea (all-powerful ruler of the world who never actually shows up), he makes a deal whereby sacrificing himself saves the world and is then resurrected, and in the final book he judges the animals who run towards him at the end of the world, sending them either into a happy afterlife or into some kind of exile (I’m hazy on the details).

          I’m sure there are all kinds of other things I’ve missed, too…

          • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

            I don’t think he can fly, though…?

          • Nina says:

            of course he can fly. The two girls run up to him after he’s resurrected from death (apparently) and then hang on to his fluffy manes and they fly. Please don’t spoil my happy memories of reading this.

            On the rest of the Jesus-stuff: hmm. The mere fact that we are talking about a Lion here, make it hard for me to relate this all to Jesus, Christianity and religion. But then again, maybe I am a really easy victim in all my naivity. I think it’s time for a fourth time re-read.

          • Bob O'H says:

            The lion is one of the symbols used for Jesus. I don’t suppose Aslan the Pelican (yes, a pelican – the Church of England never got that memo, apparently) wouldn’t have worked as well.

          • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

            Oh, I thought they were just running really fast. But I haven’t read it for ages, and the film version was very disappointing. I still have fond memories of the BBC TV adaptation from when I was a kid, but I’m sure the special effects look horribly dated now!

          • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

            Bob: I would definitely watch the pelican version. Imagine a pelican waddling up to the great stone altar to be sacrificed, trying to look all dignified – it’d be hilarious

          • OMG, I can’t remember any of this!!! Mind you I read the series in grade 4 so that was a little while ago….

            Like Nina my non-Christianity knowledge meant I was completely oblivious to the fact that the lion was supposed to be Jesus. Apparently its a “known” incarnation.

            But seriously Lions are the symbol of Sikh men. Singh means lion in sanskrit and is the middle name of almost all Punjabi males (my hubby and son incl). Really, I grew up thinking the aslan was a kick ass punjabi sikh. Fuck Jesus. Maybe Hans Anderson needs to realize that the lion can be whoever the fuck we want him to be.

          • That’s the great things with books – even if they’re written as a very specific allegory (as this definitely was – C.S. Lewis was very strongly Christian), your mind can translate that any way you want! So Robb Stark can represent anyone from King Arthur to Luke Skywalker to Stephen Harper, depending on how weird you are 😉

          • Grant says:

            Excuse my poking fun here – now if this lion(ess) was Aslan…

            http://news.mongabay.com/2012/1015-hance-maned-lioness-pod.html

  14. Grant says:

    Eh, what’s this about “stupid Kiwi vegetation”? (Says a Kiwi.) Seriously, I know what you mean – off-track bush-bashing can be pain. Sometimes it makes walking through the forest take on a more literal meaning that you’d like 🙂

    Thanks for the tip on Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s effort – I’ve been put off trying this because of the bad press the second book got.

    Have you seen the (Argentine) film The Secret in Their Eyes. It rates well at Rotten Tomatoes (see: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/secret_in_their_eyes/). I thought it good (esp. the camera work), although the ‘hard’ scenes are a bit hard to take.

    For those worried they haven’t read Cath’s booklist – I haven’t either. My excuse is that I’ve have—literally—piles of books to read. Currently I’m into about 6-7 in parallel, which I don’t usually do. One is Rebecca Priestley’s Mad on Radium, which I will review when done. (It’s a review copy.) Several are science stuff, one on writing (with more of that to come), Alastair’s Reynold’s Relevation Space (trying to put this aside until I’ve done Mad on Radium). There’s a very crappy novel too, but I’m not speaking of that 🙂 But speaking of Reynold’s stuff – any opinions on Blue Remembered Earth?

    • Cath@VWXYNot? says:

      I haven’t seen the film, but the book definitely seemed like it would translate well to that medium.

      I’m currently reading two non-fiction books, but very very slowly – I don’t know why, but I just can’t read non-fiction as quickly or for as long in one session as I can a good novel.

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