The willow bends and does not break, but the wind that blows from the west has a name...and that name is Khan--Jenghiz Khan. It is to the north of ancient China where lies the greatest danger and no one is safe, especially foreigners.The man known to the Chinese people as Shih Ghieh-Man faces the greatest danger. He is an enigma--a man of strength with no perceivable vices. To survive the coming storm, he allies himself with the beautiful T'en Chih-Yu, a woman warrior desperate to save her people from the Mongol horde.But the man who offers his help has another, older name-and a terrible secret. For he is the Count St. Germain...and the greatest gift he can bestow can be bought with blood...or death.
This installment of the Saint-Germain chronicles didn’t quite hit the spot for me—it seemed to cover a lot of ground (literally), a lot of tragedy, and did it all without much point. It wouldn’t have taken much to push it into 4 star territory, just a bit more focus. As it stands, this book felt to me very much like two excuses to push Saint-Germain into a Chinese and an Indian woman’s beds, and little else.
I can certainly see why female readers find Saint-Germain a sympathetic character—age doesn’t mean much to him, considering how old he is, so even we older readers can envisage ourselves as possible love interests for this enigmatic vampire. Plus, as the Indian woman, Padmiri, discovers, he is all about female sexual satisfaction. She describes a subsequent lover as willing to get her aroused because he knows that it will benefit him, but her arousal & satisfaction are not truly that man’s focus.
Two enormous, diverse countries are explored in this novel and both got short shrift. When the story begins, Saint-Germain has already been in China for some time, long enough for a university to decide that they would like him to leave. At no point is the reader told why Saint-Germain chose China or what he was trying to accomplish there. India is just a way-station on his travels “home,” and the potential for interesting adventures is hemmed in by the rather histrionic plot in which a young priestess of Kali attempts to capture & use Saint-Germain as a sacrifice to her goddess.
For me, the most engaging and interesting part of the book took place as Saint-Germain and Roger over-winter in a Buddhist monastery and get to know the nine-year-old lama in charge of the lamasery. It is a small section, disappointingly quick to pass.
What should have been a more pressing problem—Saint-Germain is running out of his supply of his native earth—doesn’t get nearly the attention that it should. Especially since he and running water don’t get along and he will need to put to sea to get home. Another irritant (for me), was a series of letters from two Nestorian Christians travelling in China, but who remained completely unexplained. It is not until the very end of the book that the survivor of the pair crosses Saint-Germain’s path and I assume that it is a set-up for another volume.
Still, despite my criticisms, I enjoyed this fluffy little fantasy tale and I will definitely continue on with the series.
So far I´m not the biggest Terry Pratchett fan. I´m still looking for that book that pulls me completely into the quirky Pratchett universe. Equal Rites is my third Pratchett and unfortunately I´m still not enthusiatic about his books (but I´m not giving up).
In Equal Rites a wizard makes the grave mistake to pass his powers onto a baby girl. A female wizard? Unheard of in the whole of Discworld. The novel follows this female wizard, Eskarina Smith, how she gets tutored by Granny Weatherwax, an awesome witch, and how she tries to become the first female wizard in a male dominated world.
I loved Granny Weatherwax, she is such a fun and great character and a lot of the enjoyment I took out of this book is because of her. Unfortunately she isn´t the main character of this novel. The MC is Eskarina, a nine year old child and an annoying know-it-all. Eskarina is the proof that child characters and I don´t get along very well.
Equal Rites is an okay read, but I´m not in love with it. Granny Weatherwax on the other hand:
"Listen, said Granny "If you give someone a bottle of red jollop for their wind it may work, right, but if you want it to work for sure then you let their mind make it work for them. Tell `em it´s moonbeams bottled in fairy wine or something. Mumble a bit over it. It´s the same with cursing."
"She was wearing servicable black, and concealed about her person were a number of hatpins and a breadknife. She had hidden their small store of money, grudgingly advanced by Smith, in the mysterious strata of her underwear. Her skirt pockets jingled with lucky charms, and a freshly-forged horseshoe, always a potent preventative in time of trouble, weighed down her handbag. She felt about as ready as she ever would be to face the world.
"It´s Mistress Weatherwax," said Granny. "Three sugars, please."
Mrs. Whitlow pushed the bowl towards her. Much as she looked forward to Granny´s visits it came expensive in sugar. Sugar lumps never seemed to last long around Granny.
"Very bad for the figure," she said. "And the teeth, so Aye hear."
"I never had a figure to speak of and my teeth take care of themselves," said Granny.
I love her.
16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 1 All Saints Day: A book that has a primarily black and white cover, or one that has all the colours (ROYGBIV) together on the cover.
This wonderful cover of my edition has all the colours of the rainbow in it.
The Last Werewolf is not what I expected it to be, but I enjoyed it. I listened to it on audio and the narrator was excellent.
There is a lot of explicit sex and this book depicts werewolves as the beings they are-don't expect everything to be all prettied up because you'll be disappointed.
I read this with my reading group and even though I didn't LOVE this book, I think I will continue with the next-just not right away.
Yesterday was a weird day in which I did very little reading until I crawled into bed. Unfortunately, I crawled into bed because I was tired!
This is a very different book from what I expected, and I'm not even sure yet what's going on, but the writing is superb and I'm being sucked in.
I've decided, not for the first time, that I really, really like big fat long books. I have a feeling I'm going to do a blog post just on that . . . after I finish reading a few more big fat long books.