Sunday, April 4, 2010

Clash of the Titans

This film is set in a world of Greek mythology and is a remake of another film of the same name made in the early 80's (if I am wrong please correct me). I found the movie very much worth my ticket.

Basic Plot: "The Clash of the Titans" is set in the Greek city of Argos where a war is about to explode between man and the gods. Perseus (Sam Worthington) raised as a fisherman, but is actually a demi-god. Perseus is the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson) who is about to take on the gods after the death of his family. Zeus' brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) was the one who kill his family, and Perseus wants to kill him. However, it is Perseus's destiny to rescue the city of Argos from the ruthless rage of Hades and his Kraken monster. With nothing to lose, Perseus leads a band of soldiers on a quest to defeat the Kraken. In doing this, Perseus will prevent Hades from overthrowing Zeus and in turn destroying mankind."

My Thoughts on the Plot: I found the basic idea interesting. What if Greek gods were real? What if man rebelled against them? It was a good idea from a strictly story standpoint, especially when you get into the details. The writing at the beginning was very well done, quite a bit of intrigue and mystery. Another point worth mentioning is that the story seemed to move very quickly. At the beginning, I just assumed this was because it was trying to move quickly into the action. But as the movie progressed it became clear they were trying to include bits from the old movie and add new things as well (I've never seen the original so I wouldn't know. That's just the feeling I got from it). Also, every so often the dialogue turned into dumping sessions on occasion and cheesy remarks. But overall the screen writing and plot was good.

Characters: I loved the main character, Perseus. He was witty, intelligent, good with a sword, and just overall very interesting. But he was really the only strong character in the story. The romantic relationship of the movie didn't make too much sense either. I understood the characters' goal and the reasons behind it, but I didn't agree with their motives or their purpose. While many characters carried intrigue, it was very plot driven and had little character.

Blocking/Camera Play/Acting: I thought this was very well done. The fighting sequences were very good, the camera play was cool, and even in the slower sections the way people moved was neat. I didn't notice any bad acting, exempting a very minor character at the beginning and he wasn't terrible.

Costumes: The main characters and people of earth had good costumes. But the gods were dressed like British knights, which didn't make much sense to me. Liam Neeson, as Zeus, kinda looked funny with his hair too ;) lol
Graphics: Amazing. 'nough said. Well sorta, the writers created a few creatures that were very interesting. And the mythological beings were very well created. All in all, it looked better than real.

Theme/Moral: There really wasn't one. That was the most disappointing thing about the movie. If there was a moral, it was that everyone is selfish and the only way to escape tyranny is to be more selfish. It seemed to have an anti-authority message...I don't know. I'm trying to force a message out of the story. But I honestly walked away with no deeper meaning.

Conclusion: Despite the review, I really liked the movie. Definitely worth going to see, and I'd buy it on DVD. It was very plot driven, but the plot was interesting. And the graphics and fighting sequences were very cool as well. If you're looking for an emotional story, I wouldn't look here. I didn't feel any emotion though I could tell the writers were trying to. I understood the characters, they were real, but I didn't agree with them and I wouldn't feel bad if they all died.

Go see the movie. You'll enjoy it.

Oh! And apparently there was something about an owl statue or the like in the old movie. They discarded the owl as a joke in this movie.

So yeah, you'll like the movie. But don't expect to be amazed.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Starlighter - Bryan Davis

So if you follow Christian Fantasy, especially teen Christian Fantasy, the name Bryan Davis ought not be a new one to you. Author of fifteen or so books including bestselling series Dragons in Our Midst, Oracles of Fire, and Echoes from the Edge, Mr. Davis has made quite the name for himself.

Recently he has started a new series entitled Dragons of Starlight. In this story world there will be, I believe, four books for teens and two books for adults. The adult series is to be published with AMG Publishers beginning with Masters and Slayers. The teen series begins with Starlighter, to be released next month.

Those who pre-ordered/won copies of the book received the book early and, as I was one of those people, I have decided to a review of the book.

In Starlighter, by bestselling author Bryan Davis, dragons have kidnapped humans from their planet and taken them to theirs, enslaved them, tortured them, and worked them to their deaths. Years have passed since that date, and both worlds have forgotten. Darksphere, the human world, contains an organization that remembers the Lost Ones, those stolen from their world, and seeks the gateway to the dragon planet. But these people are mocked and scorned. On Starlight, the dragon world, those who remember and hold to the belief that they are not meant for slavery are similarly mocked.

But the lost will be found.

Bryan Davis again pens a beautiful, fast passed, epic tale of four teens’ determination to do that which they know to be right. The plot was exhilarating, the characters were very clearly defined, and the writing was excellent as usual. Mr. Davis did what is every writer’s goal—he created an adrenaline laced plot with believable characters. Given any line of dialogue I could recite the character that would have said it, each one was that real, and the story kept me thinking late into the night.

Also, this book is clearly a story filled with Christian themes. The basic plot line is a beautiful tale and challenge of reaching out to the lost. While the themes are clearly there I do believe the story can be enjoyed without noticing or understanding the allegory.

I’d recommend this book to any young adult, 10 and up. An excellent read for teens and adults.

And a cliffhanger to boot.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Vertical Self - by Mark Sayers

Our culture has driven us insane. So much so, we haven't even noticed it. We were created in God's very own image. And in Mark Sayer's book, The Vertical Self, he not only proclaims this drastic identity crisis, he provides an accessible solution through Christ Jesus. Find your identity in Christ, and you will never be in crisis.

The book begins defining where our culture is at, and what "the vertical self" means. The idea is simple really, those with a vertical sense of self find their identity vertically. At the top is God and eternal reward, the middle is yourself and earth, and the bottom is eternal punishment and Hell. Such people identify who they are as the image of God.

The second sense of self is horizontal. The horizontal self has no standard to hold itself to save other peers, who also have a horizontal sense of self.

Sayers challenges those saved and unsaved to come back to who we were meant to be. Find out who were truly are. To stop changing our identity to please others and become, once again, the image bearers of God. And that this doesn't require otherworldly saintness, giving up our desires, etc. All that is needed is subjecting our desires and person under the Lordship of Christ. Holiness. And to be holy is to be whole.

I loved this book. It's changed the way I think and look at things in a more godly manner I believe. The way Sayers spoke encouraged me and made things clear and simple. This is something every Christian needs to be reminded of. We are the IMAGE OF CHRIST. So we need to start living like it.

Read this book and prepare to be changed. God worked in big ways with this book, for me at least. I trust He can do the same for you.

Live life to the fullest. Become who you were made to be.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Swords of the Six

Swords of the Six is the first book of what will be a seven book epic series entitled "The Sword of the Dragon". Having met the author, as well as what I've gleaned from the tale, the story seems to play a prequel kind of role in the story of the series. And it is all the more entertaining for it.

The story follows six sisters and more specifically the youngest, Dantress. These sisters are given six ancient swords that were misused by their former masters to slay the innocent. The dragon father of the sisters tells them that the swords must be redeemed with the blood of the traitors, and the world must be purged of their evil. To start, the six young girls are to hunt down the one of the traitors and offer him a pardon. Should he not accept the offer, he must be killed.

The fantasy elements in this story, Scott Appleton's world building skills, and simply the writing are marvelous. Rusted swords, a righteous dragon, a fiery blade, a fallen dragon, an orphaned boy, and six sisters bound by prophecy. This is the tale of Swords of the Six, and it is only the doorstep of the epic series to come. I foresee these books outdoing Harry Potter, and rivaling the effect that The Lord of the Rings had on many a generation. It certainly has the potential.

Scott Appleton can write a world that makes you forget the one you live in, and then when you return to normal life leaves you asking questions. If you like a story that makes you think, a story that submerges you into a real world, you will love The Sword of the Dragon series.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Lion Vrie

Late last night, around midnight or so, I finished reading one of the best books I've ever read--Christopher Hopper's The Lion Vrie, book two of The White Lion Chronicles. I sat myself down and vowed not to move again until the book was finished, as it turned out...I had no problem doing so.

The Lion Vrie, and all of TWLC for that matter, is a story rich with fantasy. Deep histories, worlds, themes, languages, characters--it's all there. And I read at least 400 pages of the book last night, nonstop reading. It's that good.

Here is my formal review;

Taking up where he left off, Christopher Hopper embarks on a tale beginning in destruction and ending in destruction. The world of Dionia is in ruins, their Kings have all fallen, and even the Most High has seemingly abandoned them. Morgui’s power is growing, his might spreading to the remotest parts of the land. The fallen one’s plan extends deep into Earth, as the Only Son prepares to lay His life down.

It is at this point, the weakest in all of the world’s time, that the Order of the White Lion—The Lion Vrie—reveal themselves.

Pick up this book, and enter another world. Christopher Hopper is by far the best world-builder since Tolkien. Matching, if not surpassing him, in languages, cultures, history, morality, characters, and more! The terror is real, the hope is powerful, and the love will bring you to tears. Laugh-out-loud-in-the-face-of-danger style humor and eloquence only the ancient world can bring.

The villains are wretchedly evil, it made me sick. And the heroes are immensely loyal, men and women of God, courageous in the site of hell itself, and broken servants of the Most High God.

Read this book, and come face to face with the true Maker of this world. Be prepared for your life to be changed. Join the Lion Vrie.

Oh yeah, and be prepared to storm Mr. Hopper’s home. He wrote one heck of a cliff hanger!
A few of my friends and I joke around in saying that we are going to raid CH's house! lol The ending truly leaves one hanging and the story is so deep it is just begging to be finished!

Dionia is such a real world, as said in the last review, it is hard to sum up. Much of the greatest story lines I cannot reveal as they are major spoilers. The entire book is a grand discovery. I guess you'll have to take my word for it--you will love this and all of Christopher Hopper's works!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rise of the Dibor

I finished this book late last night, staying up to read by the light of my bed's Christmas lights, and I can tell you this--had there been 100 more pages to read I'd likely have stayed up into the next morning to finish the book. It was spectacular.

As always, here is my formal review (the one I will be posting on Amazon, CB, Books a Million, etc);

A world of innoceance: a perfect world, perfect leaders, perfect love, and
a perfect relationship with the Great God. A world still within the bounds of
Athera [Heaven] without any knowledge of the sin that has corrupted Earth and
the other worlds. This world is called Dionia, and is crafted by the expert pen
of Christopher Hopper.

Luik is the son of a king, just hitting his teenage years, and is
thrown into a world of chaos, tempting fears, and evil. He willingly enters all
of this, stepping out into a select group of warriors, defenders, brothers,
known as the Dibor [DIE-bor]. After making this decision to serve the Most High
God as one of the Dibor, Luik is sent hurtling through battles (physical and
spiritual), training, and the destruction of all he holds dear.

There is so much in this story to sum up in only one review. Dionia is
truely a complete world. This is not some trivial fantasy, not even close,
Dionia is the most real fantasy world I've ever seen written second only to
Middle-Earth. Though Dionia may always win my heart. The language of the people
is beautiful, their innoceance and faith does one describe a
reality? Dionia is not fiction. Mr. Hopper has convinced me of its reality.

Rise of the Dibor is an excellently penned story of love, loyalty, courage,
good versus evil, and mankind's ability (or lack thereof) to resist temptation.
ROTD teaches that with faith all things are possible, even should the hordes of
Hell assail you. Wretchedly twisted villians, truthfully honorable and fearless
heroes--this is the story of a lifetime.

Step into Dionia and be forever changed, I have changed after reading
this--and for the better.

That review, as I said, does not compare to the book. The story is a true one, or reads as such. It is so believable I'm not sure the review does it justice.

I hope you all go out and buy this book, or at least get your hands on a copy and read it. And have The Lion Vrie handy, you'll want to pick up it.

Cliff hanger ending!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hey guys! Well as you know I've had a lot of reading to catch up on and after my school books came Marlayne Giron's debut The Victor. Mrs. Giron has so graciously offered to allow me to give away one copy to a lucky commenter on this post! So buckle your seat belts and brace for a review by me.

Check it out;

“What care I for thy judgment, O King? I swear to thee this oath: Thou shalt rue this day in great bitterness and mourn that Thou didst not destroy me when it lay within Thy power!” Eloth regarded his former steward and once most trusted servant with an impassive face, but in his gray eyes was an unfathomable pain that only two in the entire court filled with people could behold: Lucius and Eloth’s son, Joshua. “I know,” was Eloth’s silent reply. (Page 36)

And so begins Marlayne Giron’s beautiful novel, The Victor.

I had the honor of receiving this book as a gift, but it is more than worth its retail price. The story is wonderful!

Ellioth is a perfect kingdom. Ruled by a perfect King in perfect love. All is how it should be, with loving stewards, knights, squires, and honest merchants. Things could never be better.

It is at this moment that the Baron Lucius of Northumberland, favorite of King Eloth, lashes out in arrogance, gathering an army to challenge the King’s seraphim. The rebels of the Baron do not stand a chance against the expertly trained elite of Eloth and so Lucius is driven back. But not before the largest amount of innocent blood in all of history is spilled.

Eloth is furious but, in following of His character, shows the Baron mercy in hopes that he may yet be redeemed. Lucius wants none of this mercy and finds such grace more painful than death. And it is then that he fires the words listed above.

“Thou shalt rue this day…”

And in sorrow Eloth whispers two prophetic words, “I know.”

The Victor is the story of how this came to be. It is the riveting and romantic tale of Eloth’s one and only son, Joshua, as he is trained as an ordinary knight and prepared to take the throne of Shiloh—an honor that is rightfully his.

The Victor is the story of the hate-filled Lucius and how he acts on his blood-lust and obsessive desire for vengeance.

The Victor is a tale of the love of Llyonesse for Joshua, and his great love for her and how that love was demonstrated and how Llyonesse was set free.

The Victor is the story of our world. It is the history of mankind penned in a poetic and fantastical way.

Giron writes with eloquence an allegorical tale from the betrayal of Satan to the end of time. With tension that is sure to keep you glued to your seat, characters that make you want to laugh and weep aloud, and powerful inspiration that made me wish to draw sword and charge the strongholds of Hell this is a book you do not want to skip.

Mrs. Giron had me hooked from the first page to the last, leaving me wishing there was more left to read. It truly is a work of art, funny, suspenseful, romantic, and action packed.

I recommend this book for teens thirteen years and older, and I do believe that all fantasy loving readers will thoroughly enjoy this. I certainly did. The book is set in medieval times and Marlayne Giron stays true to the times in the language of the people. The excerpt quoted above is a good example. The book uses “thee” and “thou” and “thy” a good bit, but it never caused a distraction to me. To be quite honest the wordage added to the story.

All of that to say that The Victor is a must-read for all. I loved it, and I believe that you will too.
That's my "formal" review. And not too elaborate too much, but I really really liked it.

There are lots of cool connections in there to the Bible and the Gospel message, which are always fun to read, though it could very very easily be read as a straight fantasy.

To me, the best thing about it was the characters. The Victor is most definitely a character driven story and Mrs. Giron did an excellent job in drawing these characters for me. I saw them, laughed with them, cried with them, it was very well written. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

(As you can tell I'm new to book giveaways so this post will end rather abruptly)

How to Enter the Drawing;

Comment on my Whispered Roars post and leave a valid email (I'll contact you for your snail mail if you win. Only in the "inner" US please)
Sign up as a follower of this/WR (only one counts)
Post about this giveaway on your blog (give me the link too ;) )

And well, that's it.

Whoever wins this is seriously in for a treat. The book very much exceeded my expectations. You'll love it; I promise.

Check out Marlayne Giron's website here!