Friday, October 29, 2010

10/10/10 Reviews #8: Dragonflight

Book Review 8: Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

It’s a wonderful thing when a reader enjoys a book so much he has to recommend it to anyone who might possibly enjoy it. This is how I came to read Dragonflight, the first story of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series.

I don’t tend to read sci fi or fantasy. This is mainly because my head settles around reality much more easily. When I have to get into an imaginary world with made-up names and places that often sound odd, I have to stop and try to think about where I am. On the other hand, I’ve watched every original Star Trek show and loved the original Star Wars movies. So with that in mind and a very high recommendation of the Pern series, I set about to find the first one to check out. Turns out my local bookstore owner is also a huge fan. She happened to have a hardcover with the first 3 stories, plus an extra. She sent them all with me.

The Dragonriders are telepathic and communicate with their dragons regularly. Their job is to prevent dangerous Threads from landing on Pern and destroying their world. However, it’s been 400 years since Threads have landed and the common people of Pern decide they no longer need them, and so stop sending support. The riders have dwindled in number, and a Thread attack is on the way.

Interesting, actually, to make the comparison to this series written in the 70s with today’s threats and disinterest in supporting those defending against them.

Either way, other than taking some time to figure out  where I was and becoming adjusted to the names and titles and such, I was drawn to Lessa right away. She’s a fighter: strong, stubborn, but also a bit naïve (much like one of my own beloved characters). When she rubs up against F’lar, a lead dragonrider determined to shape her into what she needs to be to protect the lair, and therefore Pern, sparks flair.

Dragonriders is a thoughtful but action-packed story. There were times I wished things were explained a bit better at the beginning, to avoid having to try to work it out on my own, but once it really started to roll, it didn’t quit until the end. Yes, I’ll recommend it, as well, to sci fi or fantasy fans, and to those who want to try something different for a change. Will I continue reading the series? I’m so far undecided. If so, I might have to find one that isn’t 7 pt font (or thereabout)! Or I’ll have to find it in ebook format so I can increase the font.
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Music Review: Daughtry (self-titled)

I didn’t follow Chris Daughtry on American Idol (it’s not a show I tend to watch), but I did get a glimpse of him singing somewhere toward the end of whatever season he was on. His voice pulled me in, as did his style. Still, I heard three of Daughtry’s songs on the radio before I decided to pick up the CD. I’m glad I did. As is normal, the songs not on the radio captivate me more than those that are. They are deeper, more introspective, more ‘connecting’ than the commercial grabbers. Crashed is contagious: words, music, technique – very powerful, as is What I Want (featuring Slash).

The whole thing is what I want: good rock, nice guitar riffs, great voice, well-penned lyrics that touch the soul, and not overproduced. Yes, I’ll have to grab more of Daughtry. That’s a given.
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Movie Review: The Merchant of Venice (2004)

I love Shakespeare. Yes, honestly. Reading it or watching it, there’s just something that pulls me in. I also enjoy Joseph Fiennes. So I expected Fiennes doing Shakespeare would be an auto win. And it was.

Bassanio (Fiennes) needs cash to woo his girl. He doesn’t have it, so he goes to a friend, who goes to a money lender and promises an actual pound of flesh if he doesn’t repay the loan. Both comedy and mayhem ensue, plus that social commentary you find in every Shakespeare play. Tables are turned, roles are reversed, comedy and tragedy mix, and while some end up happy with their outcomes, others end up with a horrid lesson and not much more.

This is a wonderful adaptation of the play that leaves you both satisfied and pondering.
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Legal Note: no review was compensated or requested

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