12 Feb 2007

Howl's Moving Castle

I was bought this book as a present, from someone knowing I like fantasy, and my first impression was that it was intended for younger readers. But I read it anyway and was pleased I did. It may indeed be for younger readers - I do not know - but the characters are likeable, the setting is interesting and the plot is just complex enough.

Yet I think what I liked best was simply the atmosphere: at the end of a hard day it is the perfect book for escaping with. Recommended.

Note: this review is quite definitely not of the movie (reviewed elsewhere). I will just say that, if you have only seen the movie, the book is very, very different.

I see there is a semi-followup called Castle in the Air. I have not read it but people say it will appeal to those who liked Howl's Moving Castle, so I may get it soon.

Amazon UK: Howl's Moving Castle and Castle In The Air
Amazon JP: Howl's Moving Castle and Castle In The Air

11 Feb 2007

Celestine Prophecy Series

I first read James Redfield's Celestine Prophecy seven or so years ago and immediately liked it. The writing and plot are unsophisticated but that is part of the appeal, and it makes it easy to recommend to friends who are not into reading.

Set in Peru, and on the surface an adventure story about catholic church control, he deals with mysterious energy, being able to see the aura, relationships between family members, following intuitions, voluntarily giving people energy, and people going invisible. I am not sure I believe everything he writes, but I try to give it a fair chance.

But no-one has yet to come up to me and said: "Dude! You're looking so transparent today."

Maybe I am simply doing something wrong.

It was not until last year that I bought the next two books in the series: The Tenth Insight and The Secret of Shambhala. Both have the same easy-to-read adventure story style, and again both deal with interesting topics. If you enjoyed the first book you will probably enjoy these later two books. And if you hated the first book, you will hate them.

The Tenth talks about moving into alternative dimensions, souls, reincarnation and is perhaps the easiest introduction to this difficult topic you will find. He may turn out to be wrong, but his theories seem internally consistent.

It is set in a forest valley in the U.S. and the story is about a new energy source, the conquering of the Native Indians in the 19th century, and a group of seven souls coming together. The enemy this time is not the church wanting to control but big business wanting to control.

The Secret of Shambhala is set in Tibet and is really expanding on the Eight Insight rather than being the Eleventh Insight. Definitely worth reading. The enemy the narrator is on the run from this time is the Chinese military.

I've also read The Celestine Prophecy: An Experiential Guide. It is okay. I did not enjoy it as much as reading the adventure books, but it is still worth a read.

Amazon JP Links:
Celestine Prophecy
Tenth Insight
The Secret of Shambhala
Experiential Guide

Amazon UK Links:
Celestine Prophecy
Tenth Insight
The Secret of Shambhala
Experiential Guide