Friday, July 18, 2014

Chris, Crichton, and Castles (Don't Judge Me for Alliterating)

The past can often seem very distinct and separated from the present. We, humanity, often glorify even the bloodiest of battles. We make heroes of villains and change the facts as we chose. Often it doesn't matter because we don't have enough facts to make an accurate judgment of the past, yet we do it anyways. My point is we often make history what we want it to be.  Well what if we didn't have to. What if we could travel to the past and observe what really went on in the pages of our text books. This is part of the premise in Michael Crichton's sci-fi adventure novel about the past.

Chris, Stern,Kate, and Marek are part of a archeological team unearthing the ruins in the Dordogne river valley of France. Professor Johnston, one of the leaders at the site, has been visiting the mysterious ITC, the company funding the dig, hedquarters in New Mexico. But when the team in France doesn't hear from him at the scheduled time, they begin to get suspicious. Their suspicions are founded when they discover a 14th century manuscript with the words "Help Me" written in perfect English. Through a series of events, (I'm trying so hard not to reveal to many details.), the team is sent back to 14th century France to save the professor. The only catch... They just have 37 hours to complete the task. That might not seem to hard, but don't forget the is a dark period in history. Slaughter abounds and it is a whole new world. This book combines so many aspects that different readers will enjoy such as: Archeology, Knights, Castles, Science Fiction, and a heartless CEO.

While I enjoyed reading this book there were just a few things that bugged me. My biggest problem was with the story's main villain. He seemed almost cartoonish in his wish to exploit and control the archeology and the surrounding land. Maybe I'm just misreading his intents, but them seem very juvenile and not really deserving of his end. On the other hand his passive attitude about death and those he injured was disturbing and well crafted and justified his end better than his plans for exploitation. I also found a few of the characters just sort of lackluster. Yet there was good character development throughout the story which I think makes up for it.

A big part of my enjoyment of this book was the science aspect of it. While the author gives enough detail for you to know what's going on. He doesn't drown you in a sea of useless information. He is quick and to the point.

While there are a few downsides to the book, there is much more to be gleaned from it about our view of history and the time in which we live. As much as we enjoy history, We're never going back the past is in the past, so we must do all we can to make the most of the present.

Lance Fillmore (PSEUD)

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Author's note: If you enjoyed the book... Do not watch the movie version!!!! That is all.- 07/16/14

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Code of Silence

        When a group of three friends witness the masked robbery of their favorite restaurant, attempted murder of the co-owner, and are threatened with the murder of them and their families by one of the thugs they decide to enact a Code of Silence. This means that they will not tell anyone about what they have seen, especially the police, for fear of a dirty cop. They will have to lie to parents, teachers, police, and pretty much everyone they come in contact with until they can come up with a plan. But it is not as easy as you may think, for as the book says living a lie comes with a price.
          This is the dilemma that the characters face in Tim Shoemakers book Code of Silence. A few weeks ago I came across this book while at the library it sounded interesting enough so I decided to give it a try, and I’m glad I did. While the whole premise is intriguing and the action is really suspenseful what I really liked were the relationships between the three friends, it was written in what I would call a third-person omniscient point of view so you really got to know the thoughts and feelings of every character. Another thing I really enjoyed was how developed all of the characters were. Each of them had their own personal feelings about what they were doing. Their turmoil over what they are going to do is evident. In times of trial you can see the points of each character so it does not feel unjustified when a character acts a certain way. Also all of the main protagonists had good solid backstories which helped make them to be more believable. 
          This book also excellently delivers on action and suspense. I don’t want to spoil anything but let’s just say it can get very intense. I can’t recall anything that I really did not like about this book. One thing that is interesting is the relationship with God in this book, mainly that there isn't much of one until the end, through character foil you can see those who run to God during trials, and those who run away from Him. The way this was delivered seemed realistic and relatable. Also just to clear it up I wouldn’t necessarily label this book as “Christian fiction” because the focus is on the mystery and the lies, with the relationship with God as an underlying theme.
          Overall this book is well-written, realistic, with relatable characters and suspenseful action; this is one to put on your reading list.