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review 2017-11-18 06:24
The Alchemist
The Alchemist - Alan R. Clarke,Paulo Coelho

I bought this book while in Amsterdam for a couple of reasons:  The title first caught my attention, and the friend I was with said he'd read it and thought it was... ok.  But mostly because of the title. 

 

Since buying it I've read a lot of reviews that say it's... ok.  Which is why it sat on my TBR for so long.

 

Now that I've read it, I understand why a lot of people might think it's just ok.  Reading it, I'm left with comparisons that include fairy tales and Pilgrim's Progress; allegory plays a big part in this tale, although the message isn't all that hidden.  And the author doesn't even try to hide his, or his characters', faiths or spirituality; it's not preachy, but God and Allah are at the root of the plot.

 

Still, it's beautifully written, and well translated.  The allegorical nature of the story and the third person POV kept me from really being invested in what happened to anyone, but I did appreciate the truly omnipotent and omnipresent role the author gave to God.  He never tried to restrict the deity's role to just a traditional Christian or a traditional Islamic one; when he claims God is everywhere, he doesn't go about contradicting himself.  My appreciation for this refreshing lack of hypocrisy went a long way to overcoming my ambivalence about the fate of the characters, and elevated my appreciation of the book to a notch above 'ok'.  

 

If you prefer your spiritualism to be deity free, you're not going to like this book.  If that's less important to you and you're intrigued by the question of "why are we here?", this might be worth a look.

 

 

Book themes for International Human Rights Day: Read a book originally written in another language (i.e., not in English and not in your mother tongue),

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review 2017-11-15 22:43
The Tower's Alchemist
The Tower's Alchemist (The Gray Tower Trilogy, #1) - Alesha Escobar

I received a free copy of this book from the Author Marketing Club in return

for an honest review

 

.

 

"British intelligence wants her spying skills. A vampiric warlock wants to steal her powers. The Master Wizards who trained her want her dead…"

 

The Tower's Alchemist, the first book of The Gray Tower Trilogy,  has an authentic WWII setting among spies and resistance fighters in Denmark, France, Spain and, of course, London.

 

The protagonist, Isabella (aka Emelie and Noelle) is an alchemist, one of the magicians working with the Allies against Hitler's Black Wolves (a kind of supernatural Gestapo). I identified with her immediately, from the very first paragraph, and stayed with her all the way through - no changes of viewpoint, thank heaven (or rather, thank Alesha Escobar). There is, however, an array of well-drawn characters surrounding her, many of whom elicit our sympathy - indeed, our love - as they struggle on against a seemingly invincible foe.

 

A great read if you are a WWII buff (I am), especially if you also suspect that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes in this world than 99.9% of us are ever aware of.

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review 2017-09-24 01:47
Elusive Elixir (Accidental Alchemist, #3)
The Elusive Elixir (An Accidental Alchemist Mystery) - Gigi Pandian

This series started off with a chimera/gargoyle brought to life through backwards alchemy approaching the MC, pleading for help, as he was starting to revert to stone again.

 

This book is the conclusion of that particular series plot, while at the same time introducing a couple of other mysteries, including a murder.

 

The characters keep me coming back to these books, as does the alchemy backdrop which is always fun.  But the stories could do with a bit of tougher editing; it was difficult to get into the story at the beginning because of all the repetition of information.  I think the MC mentioned she was 300 years old at least 3 times in as many pages.

 

The plotting was great - I had little idea where the story was going - but the ending, especially the part concerning the gargoyle, felt a little to pat, a little too anticlimactic.  

 

It's a fun story with great characters, but if it had been a bit tighter all the way around, it would have been great.

 

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text 2017-09-06 14:56
Reading progress update: I've read 62 out of 286 pages.
The Alchemist's Door - Lisa Goldstein

alchemist John Dee seems to be haunted by a demon, while in the Jewish Quarter, Rabbi Judah Loew is haunted by...the number thirty-six. perhaps now that they have met and are sharing knowledge, in Prague, various sinister predictions floating around can be avoided...

 

book is very entertaining so far, and just the sort of creepy Fantasy tale I wanted right now.

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text 2017-09-06 02:00
Reading progress update: I've read 8 out of 286 pages.
The Alchemist's Door - Lisa Goldstein

I've read and enjoyed three novels by Lisa Goldstein, so I have absolutely no reason to try and avoid The Alchemist's Door. in fact--it's been a while, I welcome this!

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