Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Fallen

He could not have been created to serve and worship. He was created to reign and be worshiped. He spoke with others, they all eventually agreed. He was beautiful, more beautiful than all of them put together. He was stronger and smarter than them as well.
They knew it, and they loved him for it. He was their commander in an army against a corrupt and out of touch sovereign. Only he could see how truly uncaring the king had become, for he was the king’s most trusted warrior. He would be their redeemer. On his wake, they would ride into positions of power and respect. Positions that were their birthright, but were kept from them out of malicious spite in the name of love.

He gathered his allies. It was done in secret for no one could learn of their plans. Even the king, claiming omniscience, knew nothing of the battle to come.  He was not a very patient man, and that impulsive nature would be his downfall.

There was a civil war in the heavens when it was all said and done. A civil war that ripped friends apart, tore lovers asunder, and saw children run their fathers’ through with blades of righteous fury. He was at the center of it all, watching, waiting for his moment to take the king. That moment never came. In a flash of blinding light the traitors were ripped from the ground and held aloft in a maelstrom above the clouds. The king sat on his throne of gold, and a single tear ran down his face. “I loved you. Each of you, I loved you. I breathed life into your bodies and called you blessed. I gave you a home of absolute peace, and you have destroyed that home. For this, you will live out the remainder of your never-ending lives, below.”

The wind picked up to a violent pace. One by one you could hear their screams as the gale ripped their wings from their shoulders and they fell. He was the last of them. Determined to make it out of the storm and onto the throne. With a final shake of his head, the king said, “I loved you most, Lucifer. But I misnamed you. You were to be the light-bringer, but you have brought nothing but hate and darkness. Be Gone!”

With a tortured cry, his glorious wings were torn from his body. He dropped from the air as if made of stone. All at once, the fall became almost peaceful and he could see everything so clearly. This was how it was always meant to be. Heaven could not contain the perfection that was Lucifer. He would be their redeemer. From below, he would rise.

When he reached the earth his eyes burned with purpose. They were waiting for him, looking to him with trust and devotion. Their sacrifice would not be in vain. They would have all he promised them. He had become a patient man.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Be Careful Out There

Writing prompts, for the win!

"'Be careful out there,' your mom said as you grabbed your duffel bag and headed on a camping trip with friends. 'You know that tonight is the anniversary, don't you?' You nodded, then shut the door behind you before getting in the car and taking off. "
The ride to Denali was as beautiful as you remembered it. You hadn't been there since it happened, but you had really grown and changed since then. Your therapist reminded you of that every time you saw her. It had been 12 years since that night. Since the last time you ever saw your older brother, but you couldn't live your whole life avoiding one of the most beautiful places on earth because of one bad camping trip.

You helped with the tent setup. You helped with building the fire. You even helped cook dinner while drinking a beer and laughing with your best friends in the whole world.

You did not meditate on the fact that you were less than 10 miles from where it all happened. You did not think about how everything might be different if your parents hadn't made you stay in their cabin, rather than in the tents with your older brother and his best friends in the whole world.

After dinner, you went to your tent alone. Your friends were being rowdy and having fun, but they knew what tonight was. They didn't harp too much when you bowed out early. You listened to them laugh and have a good time. Those sounds sang you to sleep.

The sun was bright in your eyes and your clothes were cold and wet when you woke up in your car the next morning. With a resigned sigh, you looked into the passenger seat to see a blood-soaked hunting knife sullying the upholstery. As you opened the car door, it was like you were at once living the present and the past. The scenes were nearly identical. In fact, the more you looked, the more you could see that this particular scene had been staged to be identical to that scene from so long ago. The tents mangled in just the right way. The bodies posed in a macabre tribute to that night 12 years past.

Sometimes history just couldn't help but to repeat itself.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Zombie Killer

Creative writing prompts to finally nip this block in the bud? ...

I cannot wait to get out of this prison. For the next two months my only responsibilities are getting a tan and reading trashy magazines. I am almost finished emptying my locker of the detritus that accumulates throughout a school year when Adam slams into the locker beside mine.

"You have to come with me. It's a matter of life and death." Then he grabs my hand and starts pulling me after him toward the cafeteria. As we approach, I begin to hear it. The moans and groans and utter chaos that accompanies an undead outbreak. I pull Adam to a stop and head toward the last hallway we passed. Luckily, my locker is not the last place I need to clean out before leaving campus.

When we get to the choir room, Adam starts lecturing. "We can't just hide from them! We have to do something! How can you just hide in here? I don't know what is going on out there, but I know that we have to do something about it!"

"Dude, we need supplies. I do know what's going on out there, and running in empty handed is only going to get more people killed. Namely, you and me. And if you are honest with yourself, you know what you saw. So call my dad. Tell him, 'Ravens winning in the cafeteria,' and wait for him to get here."

"Wait for him? No way! I'm coming with you. Dude... why do you have a crossbow and hunting knife in the sheet music closet?"

Without time to argue or explain, I run out of there and toward the fray. When I finally see the cafeteria, I am extremely thankful that most of the kids who drive to school have left. It looks like the entire freshmen class is in the cafeteria trying to bite the few upper class stragglers left. So I do what I have been trained my entire life to do. I kill every zombie in that cafeteria. My knife is slick with their black rot when I make it to the back corner and find the culprit behind the outbreak slipping out of the window and running away.

I had known all year that my biology teacher was a little too excited about dissections. Too enamored of the study of life, or more accurately, the ending of life. And now I know why after catching the glint of the telltale ruby jewel in his gauged earlobe. A necromancer. Looks like my summer may have just gotten more interesting.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Words Matter

The last novel that I featured on this here blog was a wonderful tribute to faith, love, and the things that happen to people during times of war. If you haven't read Hero's Welcome I still urge you to do so. But if you don't have the desire to do that, maybe you will enjoy Rosalind Foley's blog, and maybe after reading her blog you'll understand why her book is so darn good! So this is my plug to read her blog, people! It will make me happy :).

Here's the link:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hero's Welcome

Title: Hero’s Welcome
Author: Rosalind Foley
Publisher: Rosalind Foley, 2013
Pages: 239
Genre: Historical Fiction

Corporal Jacques Viator, wounded shortly after D-Day returns to his Louisiana rice farm thinking the war for him is over. His Hero’s Welcome quickly turns into a nightmare when he awakes his first morning home to the sound of German voices. What happens next sets Jacques, his wife Adele, his deaf sister Jeanette, his Cajun Papa and their friends on a rocky journey to forgiveness and peace. In telling their stories Rosalind Foley has reduced war to its most human dimension, showing how it affects the lives of ordinary people on both sides. Before writing the novel she spent two years helping document the until then little-know era when thousands of German POWs were interned in Louisiana.

I must be honest in telling you that I was not expecting to enjoy Hero’s Welcome as much as I did. It’s not my usual cup of tea, but I was pleasantly surprised! Rosalind Foley is my very dear friend’s grandmother. I started this book in support of their lovely family, but I finished it for much more selfish reasons!

I am ashamed to say that I knew little of the German POWs internment in Louisiana, and I have lived in Louisiana my entire life. When I say I “knew little” of it, I knew nothing of it. If this was mentioned in my 8th grade Louisiana History class, I have successfully forgotten it. I thoroughly remember learning of the Japanese internments on the Pacific coast, so it’s strange to think that I would have completely wiped this huge portion of Louisiana history from my mind. Alas, I know of it now.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel. I knew it was about southern Louisiana during World War 2, but apart from that I had no idea. (I suppose that’s how it always is when picking up a new book, but humor me.) And while it is in fact about southern Louisiana during World War 2, it goes so much deeper than that. It explores the intricacies of family, marriage, and faith.

Hero’s Welcome required me to decide how I feel about the sanctity of marriage. How much does one tolerate before giving up? It’s lovely to read about a time when giving up was not an option. These were people who loved their marriage and couldn’t give up on the holy bond that it represents. It encourages me to remind people that marriage is not something that we enter into blithely. Because I hope that if and when I am able to marry, I have the sense and the conviction to do it forever. Marriage is truly meant to be forever, and when people decide to enter into this club on a whim it does destroy marriage. So listen (read) well, don’t take marriage lightly. Just don’t.

Onto my next soapbox… This novel implores you to remember that the sins of our government are not our own. We do not choose which battles to fight or which agendas to support. However it also reminds us that it is our duty to support the soldiers who do the fighting. Because most of the time, like us, they didn’t pick which battles to fight. They simply did what was expected of them. It requires us to look at “enemies” and remember that they aren’t all evil. In fact, it would stand to reason that they were simply following orders. I am not trying to say that all “enemies” or “allies” are innocent. It is na├»ve to believe that. But it is also impossible to believe that every one of them is guilty. Sometimes we are forced to remember that pesky gray area! And Hero’s Welcome thrives in that place between black and white.

I highly recommend Hero’s Welcome to everyone. If you know anything about southern Louisiana culture, it is a ton of fun! But that’s certainly not a requirement to understand and enjoy the overall message that is so spectacularly delivered.

Cover: 3/5  
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Individuality: 5/5

The Whole Shebang:  4.2/5

Additionally, I am aware how democracy is designed to operate. We elect representatives who we feel share our beliefs so that they may make decisions for the nation on our behalf. I feel that I may not have explained that thoroughly above, and I chose to add this in separately because it doesn't have much to do with the review. I just want you to know that I know that everyone is responsible for the sins of their government in some regard. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hemlock Grove

Title: Hemlock Grove
Author: Brian McGreevy
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2012
Pages: 318
Genre: Horror

The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey steel mill. A manhunt ensues—though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.

Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a forbidding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family—their person fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel—where, if the rumors are true, biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late JR Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly control freak of a mother, Olivia.

At once a riveting mystery and a fascinating revelation of the grotesque and the darkness in us all, Hemlock Grove has the architecture and energy to become a classic in its own right—and Brian McGreevy the talent and ambition to enthrall us for years to come.

This novel is truly beautiful. Brian McGreevy is an incredibly talented author. The language with which he weaves his story is absolutely exquisite, and I cannot degrade it with my usual trite remarks. Hemlock Grove, in my humble opinion, is a modern-day classic. McGreevy revamps gothic fiction just enough to ensure he is not simply recreating the old but making something entirely new.

McGreevy recounts the unlikely and twisted alliance between Peter Rumancek and Roman Godfrey. Hemlock Grove becomes the hunting ground for an evil murderer not long after Peter, a gypsy werewolf, moves to town. Naturally, suburbanites fear Peter’s nomadic lifestyle. They, as a community, cannot grasp the idea of not having roots or obligations. And it is only natural to fear the unknown and misunderstood. Peter then meets Roman, the severely fucked-up heir to a large fortune, who can make people do what he wants not only because of his last name, but because he is an upir. The pair become linked by their curiosity involving the murders of these young women. They resolve to find the responsible party, and hope to help him recover his sanity. It is their belief that the murderer is simply sick, not evil.

Roman’s sister, Shelley, is by and large my favorite character. It is alluded that she is sustained by phosphorous; not any sort of life force with which she was born, but something gifted to her at the White Tower after her death as a young child. She is incredibly smart with a keen eye for reality. As a fan of the clever use of literary devices, I also greatly appreciate her name. I mentioned that McGreevy revamps gothic fiction. He uses a werewolf, vampire, and zombie (what does one call a creature like Shelley?) to tell his story. It is a lovely work of art.

I highly recommend this novel to everyone on the planet. As I can’t possibly speak to everyone on the planet, my recommendation is limited, but no less heartfelt. If you want to kill book fairies everywhere, don’t read this book. But if you don’t read the book, promise me you will find a way to watch the series on Netflix. It was written and produced by McGreevy, and as such is an almost acceptable substitute. I can only hope that he will write another book because as I said before, the man has a gift.

Seriously, read it.

Cover: 3/5  
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 6/5
Individuality: 5/5

The Whole Shebang: 4.8/5

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Lightning Thief

Title: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Miramax Books for Kids, 2006
Pages: 377
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school … again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief, he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of a betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

I have now read this book twice. I went to the theater to see the second installment of this series, and I wanted to reread the books because there was a lot in the movie that I didn’t remember At All. However, after reading The Lightning Thief, I remember how different the movie was from the book. So that’s probably why I didn’t recognize any of the plot for The Sea of Monsters; I’m fairly certain it didn’t happen that way in the book. And oddly enough I’m totally fine with that. Today, at least. It might irritate me tomorrow. But today, I’m good with it, Hollywood.

Let’s be real, I love mythology. One of my very favorite courses was Ancient Civilizations because of how thoroughly we covered mythology. All kinds of mythology. Maybe because they’re all centered around narcissists like me. Probably because they all discuss beings with superpowers. Whatevs.

Anyways, if you hadn’t already guessed it, this series puts a neat spin on Greek mythology. Think Clash of the Titans kid-style, and book-style… So Percy (aka Perseus) is the son of Poseidon. He has to save the world, obviously. While his gross step-dad is calling him a crazed lunatic on the news, and while monsters and gods are trying to kill him. Pretty impressive for a 12-year-old. When I was 12 I was only worried about ‘N Sync and when I would be getting my braces removed. So my 12-year-old self says, “Way to go, Percy, you totally make me look like a loser.”

But my nearly adult self says this is a great book. It’s a lot of fun! Who doesn’t love a good epic?? You have to remember it was written about a 12-year-old, most likely for other 12-year-olds. So it’s a very quick read. I especially recommend this to parents and young-ins!! But if you’re an adult bookworm with a love for fiction, I’m sure you’ll appreciate it too.

Cover: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Individuality: 5/5

The Whole Shebang: 4.6/5