Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Five Stars)

Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Five Stars)

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

Excellent. Award-winning journey of self-, world-, and supernatural-discovery by likeable protagonist. Hero’s journey format exactly fits Coelho’s purpose. Fun reading.

“It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”

Respectfully, if not accurately melds Jewish, Christian, and Islamic spiritual inputs to Santiago’s growth. Santiago is simultaneously everyone and unique. Partisans of each faith may be offended, but Coelho provides and intimate, yet global search for identity and promise.

“You have been a real blessing to me. Today, I understand something I didn’t see before: every blessing ignored becomes a curse.”

Quibbles: so many errors about north Africa geography and cultures that readers will suspect Coelho drew his details from Arabic sources. Bedouin, clothing conventions, and oasis details are clearly inventions to serve the story, not to be taken as credible.

“The wise men understood that this natural world is only an image and a copy of paradise. The existence of this world is simply a guarantee that there exists a world that is perfect.”

Book Review: Elias and the Legend of Sirok by Edward G. Kardos (Three Stars)


Book Review: Elias and the Legend of Sirok by Edward G. Kardos

(Three Stars)

“So now what? What do you think I should do?” “Elias, don’t ask me. Ask yourself.”

Published in 2013, this was the seed for The Amulet – Journey to Sirok, published in 2017. Kardos suggests you start with the final story; I agree. Rough and repetitious, but shows promise.

“It is the natural order of things. It is the way of being one. One nature, one heart, and one soul. It is about being who you are.”

An allegory of the Pilgrim’s Progress ilk, though with a muddled message. More about self-actualization than finding truth. Quasi-medieval setting with many cultural and geographic references to Hungary.

“We allow our victim to destroy himself. Most of mankind does not need help from anyone or anything to destroy who they are.”

Kardos touts following one’s heart, but also tries to create a theistic if not Christian work. Hard to have it both ways. The Bible, believe it or not, is ambivalent. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) “Follow righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22) I’ll leave sorting that to the theologians.

“It is only when you are empty that you may become full.”

Book Review: Black Star Renegades by Michael Moreci (Three Stars)


Book Review: Black Star Renegades by Michael Moreci

(Three Stars)

“He allotted himself a quick second to jam his claw against the control panel and silence all alerts. He knew he was in deep trouble, again; he didn’t need a soundtrack.”

Fun. Popcorn for the SF reader.

“And what are you going to do?” she scoffed. “What I always do,” Cade sighed. “Something stupid.”

If imitation is the most sincere form of flatter, Lucas Films, Marvel, DreamWorks–not to mention J. R. R. Tolkien, should be very flattered. In fact, their legal departments may consider when imitation crosses over into plagiarism. Not so. The plot, characters, and even some of the action and dialogue were cribbed from Stars Wars, et al., but Continue reading

Book Review: The Road Ahead by Hali C. Broncucia (Three Stars)


Book Review: The Road Ahead by Hali C. Broncucia

(Three Stars)

This is weird. I liked this story: a contemporary post-apocalyptic female hero’s journey. Good premise; engaging protagonist. I started this review intending to give it four stars, but as I wrote I realized it made no impression on me.

Normally I record quotes as I read, to give readers of my reviews a sense of the writing style of the author. I got to the end of The Road and discovered I’d written nothing. Broncucia writes well; her writing just didn’t move me. In fact, I paused several times while reading it, uncertain whether I wanted to finish it.

Loses one star for the obviously-driven-by-sequel-concerns afterword tacked on the end. It was hokey and added nothing to this story.

Other than that, a good first novel.