Book Review: The Key of Kilenya by Andrea Pearson

When two vicious wolves chase fourteen-year-old Jacob Clark down a path from our world into another, his life is forever changed. He has no idea they have been sent by the Lorkon—evil, immortal beings who are jealous of powers he doesn’t know he possesses—powers they desire to control. 

The inhabitants of the new world desperately need Jacob’s help in recovering a magical key that was stolen by the Lorkon and is somehow linked to him. If he helps them, his life will be at risk. But if he chooses not to help them, both our world and theirs will be in danger. The Lorkon will stop at nothing to unleash the power of the key—and Jacob’s special abilities.

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When I was reading The Key of Kilenya, I felt like I ought to have a ten year old boy next to me reading along. I felt like that age group is probably the key audience for this book, because the kid in me was fascinated with what was going on in this fantasy world.

The story here is fast-paced from the get-go, starting with a chase through the woods by scary wolves and followed by adventure after adventure. One of the chapter titles is “Breakneck Speeds,” and that’s often what this book felt like. Jason is throw into a mystical new world, and is quickly put on a dangerous quest to retrieve a powerful stolen artifact from the clutches of terrible, invincible enemies.

I think the real strong point in Key of Kilenya is that a lot of the fantastical elements really feel original. In fact, reading this put me in mind of the creatures you would come across in an Oz book or one of the more fanciful Chronicles of Narnia, because the creatures really aren’t the norm. Pearson clearly hasn’t been hampered by other people’s imaginations. My favorite  thing in the whole book was probably the creatures called Dusts whose hands changed to adapt to what they needed to do—but often changed without the owners’ consent, confusing the creatures and tripping them up.

I think that this book also did the “journey quest” very well. There is a lot of traveling going on in the story, but it never feels like “and then they walked for half the day.” Instead, there are different challenges and mentors sprinkled all along their road, keeping things interesting to say the least.

My biggest problem with the book is that it often felt like Jacob (and through him, the reader) was often withheld information from. A lot of things happened in a “don’t ask questions” kind of way, with adults brushing aside questions or simply not giving  time for them to be asked, even though in many cases they did have the answers. In dealing with the Lorkon, Jacob was told that it was better the less he knew about his enemy, but why it was better never became clear, even after Jacob infiltrated their castle and stole back the Key he was looking for.

I was also a little less than enthusiastic for Jacob himself. He seemed to be following this quest just because he’d been told he had to and that he was the only one who could.That was alright in and of itself, I suppose, but in the end he’s supposed to have become a hero, and I don’t know that he truly acts heroically at any point. In fact there is more than one point in the book where he passes by people who are under enchantments and curses and instead of wanting to help them, he’s disgusted by what he sees and simply moves on. I would have been a little more ready to cheer him on if he’d at least seemed to feel bad about the strangers he couldn’t save.

There are also a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the book—though that’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering this is the beginning of a series. I’m definitely curious as to how this will all play out in the end.

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You can purchase Key of Kilenya here.

Find out more about Andrea Pearson and her Kilenya series at her website, here.

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What I’m Watching Wednesday: The Big Bang Theory

Lately I’ve been catching up on the fantastic nerdosity that is The Big Bang Theory. I’ve known from the beginning that I would like this show, but I just never seemed to get a chance to sit down and watch it. In fact, I seem to have been behind on TV since about 2003, so there you go. I have to say, though, that this show has single-handedly renewed my respect for sitcoms—a respect I lost a long time ago, by the way, somewhere circa Dharma & Greg (also a Chuck Lorre show like BBT) and Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place (you know, that show that had Nathan Fillion AND Ryan Reynolds before anybody knew who they were?).

Anyhow… The Big Bang Theory is smart, speed-of-light comedy that doesn’t dumb down its material for its audience. That in and of itself is refreshing, and impressive, considering that the show is based around two theoretical physicists, a space engineer, and……. whatever it is that Raj does.

Recently Jim Parsons won an Emmy for his portrayal of Sheldon Cooper, easily the smartest and most idiosyncratic of the four main characters (there’s really five, including Penny, they’re not-so-bright-but-definitely-pretty neighbor), and I could not be more pleased for Parsons. He really is the highlight of the show, managing to be by turns obnoxious, obsessive-compulsive, condescending, and childlike, but undeniably brilliant all the time.

If you haven’t checked this show out yet, I really encourage you to do so. It is clever, delightfully open in its geekiness, and at times, absolutely sweet. It is undoubtedly one of the best shows on TV right now, and I’m happy to see it not only surviving the ratings battles, but thriving and gaining some well-earned recognition.

And for fun, here’s a fun clip of the show, with Parsons at his very best. If that doesn’t convince you the show is worth watching, I don’t know what will.

A little backstory first, though. Sheldon knows Penny has gotten him a gift and has decided that society dictates he return the gesture, but at the same price-value as Penny’s original gift. Because he doesn’t know what her gift is, he’s decided to buy multiple gift baskets and open her present first, then give her whichever is closest in value. The result is perfection.

Congrats on your win, Jim! This fan is proud of you. 🙂

Tuesday Talk: Banned Books Meme

The last week in September is Banned Books week, so I’m doing a little meme, which you can find under the cut.

Looking at this list, I don’t feel like a very controversial reader…. and the italics I have to blame mainly on my being once upon a time a very over-ambitious and yet equally impatient reader as a child. I’m an extremely patient reader now—Turgenev and Trollope will do that to you—but I am as yet not quite over my post-college, Wee, read whatever I want! phase. And I have to admit, I’m more interested in ye olde classics (like Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens, whathaveyou) than I am in a lot of American classics, which this list seems to be mainly compiled of… but hey, to each his own. That’s what this week is all about, after all.

Look through this list of banned books. If you have read the whole book, bold it. If you have read part of the book, italicize it. I’m placing a * next to ones I read because they were required by a school or college class.

Continue reading

Winner & Music Monday

CONGRATULATIONS

to Laura Bastian for winning the 25 page edit & critique! 🙂

And thanks all for playing!

And now for a song my little bro introduced me to recently… Quietdrive’s cover of the classic, “Time After Time.”

This is a yummy cover. I don’t know if it’s my favorite of the song, but it’s got a completely different feel than the other covers I love (Cindy Lauper’s featuring Sarah MacLachlan, and Matchbox 20’s.) I have a feeling I’ll be checking Quietdrive out a bit the next few days.

Got any good cover recommendations? Or new music in general? I’d love to try something new!

September Blog Hop!

(Sorry to be up late!)

Welcome to the September Blog Hop! Celebrate the beginning of fall with me and my blogger friends by hopping around, visiting our sites, and entering our contests! There are no limits – you can enter the contest on every blog. With over 40 blogs participating, that’s over 40 prizes you could win. Just click on the links below to move on to the next blog.

On my blog, you can win a 25 page manuscript edit and critique. I have edited both professionally and on a peer-to-peer basis for some time, and you can always use more eyes on your work, right? I try to keep all my comments encouraging, but I’m also very sharp when it comes to edits, so you can let me know whether you want a gentle critique, or if you would like/appreciate a critique of a harsher kind.

Would you like to win this prize? You just need to do two things.

1. Become a follower of this blog.

2. Leave me a comment in the trail and tell me why you’d like to win this prize.

That’s it! You are now entered. The contest ends on Saturday night, September 24th, at midnight MST, and the winner will be contacted shortly thereafter. Please either leave your e-mail address in the comment trail or make sure it’s visible through your profile so I can contact you to tell you that you’re the lucky winner.

Now go visit my other friends …

September Blog Hop Participants

1. Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author2. Joyce DiPastena

3. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

4. Mandi Slack

5. Michael D. Young

6. Six Mixed Reviews

7. Pam Williams

8. Laurie Lewis

9. Kristy Tate

10. Marilyn Yarbrough

11. Stacy Coles

12. Kristie Ballard

13. Lynn Parsons

14. Pushing Past the Pounds

15. Sheila Staley

16. cindy Hogan

17. Jamie Thompson18. Jaclyn Weist

19. Cathy Witbeck

20. Secret Sisters Mysteries

21. Tamera Westhoff

22. Tina Scott

23. Lynnea Mortensen

24. Danyelle Ferguson aka Queen of the Clan

25. Jeanette A. Fratto

26. Bonnie Harris

27. Melissa Lemon

28. Mary Ann Dennis

29. Stephanie Black

30. Jane Still

31. Janice

32. Laura Bastian

33. Tamara Bordon34. Betsy Love

35. Maria Hoagland

36. Amber Robertson

37. Debbie Davis

38.

39. Christy Monson

40. Carolyn Frank

41. Rebecca Birkin

42. Melissa Cunningham

43. Emily L. Moir

44. Ronda Hinrichsen

45. Lisa Asanuma

46. Joan Sowards

47. Jordan McCollum

48. Diane Stringam Tolley

Tuesday Talk – When Too Much is Too Much

I spent all day Sunday knitting. No, not the above, mine is a secret for a friend, that’s just a picture gakked from here. Really, when I say I spent all day knitting, I mean I spent about six or seven hours knitting, with a break for dinner. It’s my own fault… I act as if my friends’ birthdays sneak up on me or hide when they are from me, when really every year I have a year to prepare… and I don’t.

I ended up really pleased with the knitting I got done, but I also ended up freaking out when I finally put the knitting down and went to bed.

Why, you ask?

Because both of my ring fingers had gone dead numb. Actually, it was worse than numb. They were simultaneously numb and feeling ultra-bruised. I shook my hands out and rubbed my fingers and stretched my hands and arms, but by the time I fell asleep, my ring fingers were still both numb. I had a pretty good idea what was wrong with me, but that didn’t stop me from being scared to death of it. Everything I do—everything I do—I do with my hands. I actually said to my husband that I can’t lose my hands.

I looked it up the next morning, and as I’d feared, it looks like I’m starting to develop RSS—Repetitive Stress Syndrome. Basically this means that if I don’t slow down and take breaks when I’m doing a lot of knitting—or typing, or doing anything repetitive—I could develop carpel tunnel syndrome like that.

I’m frustrated, because I don’t even knit that much. It’s just that when I do, I like to do it for hours. And now I can’t, really.

So my plan is to a fairly basic one. Firstly, pay more attention to my hands. They do a lot for me, these lovely little things, and I need to treat them better, notice when they start hurting, etc. Secondly, I need to actually plan my crafting out in advance. This knitting project is simple and can be finished in a matter of hours… but if I plan things out, I can make something a lot nicer, and actually have it done on time (this one will still be late!).

I’m also realizing that knitting is by far not my only problem. Typing and handwriting are two big things that I do all the time. All. The. Time.

So I have to figure out my writing time a little better, too. I have to be more economical with my time, for one thing, and with what I do with my hands.

And I’m going to try and do the dishes more. Like, after every meal instead of after a day and a half. Because soaking my hands in warm water is something that all my research has suggested, and I can’t just sit still and do nothing.

What I can do, though, is take more reading and meditation breaks, though. Who knows… maybe this might help me out with getting more out of both my knitting and my writing than I ever have.