Tag: meta

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Posted January 30, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Book of the Month, Crime, Historical Fiction / 0 Comments

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónTitle: The Shadow of the Wind (Goodreads)
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Translator: Lucia Graves
Series: Cemetery of Forgotten Books #1
Published: Penguin, 2001
Pages: 487
Genres: Crime, Historical Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Barcelona, 1945; Spain is still dealing with the aftermaths of the Spanish Civil War. An antiquarian book dealer’s son, Daniel, who is mourning the recent loss of his mother, finds comfort in a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax. When he decides to hunt down more books by this mysterious author, he is shocked to find someone is on a mission to destroy every copy of Carax’s books. It is possible that Daniel may in fact have the very last copy of a Julián Carax book.

I think I‘m in love…with The Shadow of the Wind. This book has everything you really want in a story; it’s epic, mysterious, and full of adventure, as well as being haunting and beautifully written. The story is set in post–Spanish Civil War Barcelona, and follows the story of a teenage boy, who adopts a book, from the secret library known as the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. The boy becomes obsessed with this book and tries to track down the obscure author of this book.

This is an epic story of murder, madness, doomed love and secrets; while this book may seem over the top, Carlos Ruiz Zafón shows extraordinary control over the plot and language. The atmosphere in the book is beautifully created; it makes me want to go back to Barcelona. But while there is this beauty in the scenery, there is this underlining gothic feel to the whole book that just works really well for a reader like me.

Though the synopsis doesn’t really give you an exciting representation of this book, I can say this book is addictive and a joy to read. I think I became obsessed with this book. It’s like a cult following, where not just the protagonist that is obsessed but the reader becomes obsessed too. I want to adopt a book now.

This book just has something in it for everyone; it’s a rare find to find a book that can cater to such a wide range of people and I think The Shadow of the Wind did just that. If you enjoy this book check out the rest of the series, I thought the prequel; The Angel’s Game was wonderful and really need to get onto The Prisoner of Heaven in the future. It’s been a long time since I’ve read this book (this is an old review) but when the series completes, I plan to read them all again.

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Posted October 24, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Humour, Science Fiction / 0 Comments

Redshirts by John ScalziTitle: Redshirts (Goodreads)
Author: John Scalzi
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Published: Tor, 2012
Pages: 320
Genres: Humour, Science Fiction
My Copy: Audiobook

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

When people talk about a book being “meta”, I have to admit that I often wonder what they are talking about because it really doesn’t say anything about the book itself but it is a good way to sound pretentious. John Scalzi’s Redshirts is so meta; I think the author must have had a lot of fun writing this novel and playing with the red shirt concept. For those people that don’t know what a Red shirt is; it’s a concept made famous by Star Trek in which the character wearing the red shirt on a mission was always the one that died for dramatic effect.

The book Redshirts follows a copy of characters who decided why there was a high mortality rate for the people on missions with high ranking officers. Through their research they found that the only other ship with the same mortality rate was the USS Enterprise. This drives the story in a comedic dig at science fiction television shows.

This book starts off so strong, it has an interesting premises but it turns out all downhill from there. I really think this book would have worked a lot better as a short story and I think Scalzi was just adding filler in to make the book longer. I did enjoy the meta elements of this book and I found it was an entertaining look at the Star Trek storylines but once you hit the halfway point you might as well stop reading. Think of it as Star Trek parody meets Stranger then Fiction jammed together in a very sloppy way.

I listened to the audiobook version of this book and I think that was one of the best parts of my experience of this book. The audio version was read by Wil Weaton adding a whole new element of meta to this book. As a geek, I’m a fan of Wil Weaton and this was the main reason why I read this book. Redshirts could have been an entertaining book, but I don’t think it really came together as well as I was hoping for. Luckily it was a very short book; which could have been shorter. The comedy and meta elements of the novel were worth checking out but the rest of the book didn’t work.